American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.4% in December.  -  Graph: ATA

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.4% in December.

Graph: ATA

For all of 2022, for-hire truck tonnage was up 3.4%, which was the best annual gain since 2018, according to the American Trucking Associations.

ATA's advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.4% in December 2022 after decreasing 2.5% in November. In December, the index equaled 115.2 versus 114.8 in November.

Despite weakening in the second half, 2022 overall was a solid year for truck freight tonnage, aid ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a press release.

Yearly gains were primarily driven by strength in the first half of 2022, Costello said.

“Despite the small gain in December, for-hire truck tonnage clearly decelerated during the final quarter in 2022,” Costello said. “In fact, tonnage outperformed some other key metrics that drive truck freight, like housing starts and factory output during the final month of the year. This is probably because contract truckload freight is still outperforming the spot market and less-than-truckload freight after underperforming both of those sectors in 2021.”

Compared with December 2021, the SA index increased 0.3%, which was the sixteenth straight year-over-year gain, but the smallest over that period. In November, the index was up 0.8% from a year earlier. 

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.6 in December, 1.8% below the November level (114.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. 

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators. 

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