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ATA: Truck Tonnage Index rises 0.2% in September

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.2% in September after falling 4% in August.

In September, the index equaled 117.6 (2015=100) compared with 117.3 in August, ATA reported.

“This was the first month in 2019 that we did not see a signficant increase or decrease in tonnage,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist. “For the entire third quarter, the index was up 1.2% over the previous quarter and 4.5% from a year earlier, both are nice gains.”

It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight, which is performing significantly better than the plunge in spot market freight this year.

August’s reading was revised down compared with ATA’s September report.

Compared with September 2018, the SA index increased 3.5%, the association maintained. The index is up 4.1% year-to-date compared with the same period last year.

The not-seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.8 in August, 7.5% below the August level (124). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the fifth day of each month.

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