Truck Tonnage Climbed 0.8% in October

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted index of for-hire truck tonnage rose 0.8% in October after increasing a revised 1.8% in September. The latest gain put the seasonally adjusted index at 109.7 (2000=100) in October from 108.9 in September.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.9 in October, up 0.3% from the previous month.

Compared with October 2009, seasonally adjusted tonnage climbed 6.0%, which was better than September’s 5.3% year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 6.1% compared with the same period in 2009.

Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist, says that truck tonnage changes over the last couple months shows there are some bright spots in the U.S. economy. “October tonnage levels were at the highest level in three months, even after accounting for typical seasonal shipping patterns. These gains fit with reports out of both the manufacturing and retail sectors and show there is a little bit of life in this economic recovery.”

Trucking historically serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods.

Trucks hauled 8.8 billion tons of freight in 2009. Motor carriers collected $544.4 billion, or 81.9% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

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