ATA Truck Tonnage Index falls 0.3% in October

Nov. 22, 2016

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index contracted 0.3% in October, following a 6.3% drop during September (a downward revision from ATA’s report last month). In October, the index equaled 131.6 (2000=100), down from 131.9 in September. The all-time high was 144 in February.

Compared with October 2015, the seasonally adjusted index fell 0.9%, the second straight year-over-year decline. In September, the year-over-year drop was 1.3%. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2015, tonnage was up 2.5%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 138.2 in October, which was 1.9% above the previous month (135.6).

“While seasonally adjusted tonnage fell, meaning the not seasonally adjusted gain wasn’t as large as expected, the bottom of the current tonnage cycle should be near,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “There are some recent trends that suggest truck freight should improve, albeit gradually, soon.

“Retail sales, housing starts, and even factory output all improved in October, which is a good sign. Most importantly, there has been considerable progress made in clearing out excess stocks throughout the supply chain. While that correction is still ongoing, there has been enough improvement that the negative drag on tonnage shouldn’t be as large going forward.”