American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.6% in August to a record high, following a gain of 1.5% the previous month.
In August, the index equaled 132.6 (2000=100) versus 130.5 in July. August’s index is the highest on record, surpassing November 2013 (131.0).
Compared with August 2013, the SA index increased 4.5%, up from July’s 3.7% year-over-year gain. The latest year-over-year increase was the largest this year. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 3.1%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 133.5 in August which was 0.1% below the previous month (133.6).
“After a strong July, factory production and housing starts fell in August on a month-to-month basis,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Truck tonnage actually did the opposite. Not only did it increase, it accelerated.”
Costello noted that tonnage is up 3.1% over the last two months alone and has surged 6.8% since hitting a recent low in January.
“I’m optimistic about the second half of the year for the economy, which means truck tonnage should do well too,” he said.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1% 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 and has been doing so since the 1970s.