Trucking Index Slips in February
ARGLINGTON - Mar 20/18 - SNS -- The American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 2.6% in February after rising 1.6% in January.
In February, the index equaled 109.2 (2015=100), down from 112.1 in January. ATA revised the January increase from the originally reported 2.0% to 1.6%.
Compared with February 2017, the SA index jumped 5.7%, which was below January's 8.4% year-over-year gain, but still well above 2017's annual increase. For all of 2017, the index increased 3.8% over 2016. Year-to-date, compared with the same two months in 2017, tonnage is up 7.1%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 99.7 in February, which was 6.7% below the previous month (106.8).
"Despite a softer February than January, freight remains robust as exhibited in the year-over-year increase," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. "The drivers of truck freight personal consumption, factory output and construction are good, plus the inventory cycle is in favor of motor carriers, so I expect freight tonnage to grow at a decent pace in the months ahead."
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.