Graph  via ATA

Graph via ATA

Flat production and dropping retail sales dragged down truck freight in June, with the American Trucking Association’s seasonally-adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index falling 0.5% to 131.1.

The number is down from May’s 132.1 but is positive compared with year ago levels, gaining 1.8% over June 2014. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 3.4% compared with the same period last year. There was a slight increase in May's truck tonnage index number but the ATA was skeptical that the trend would continue. 

"With flat factory output and falling retail sales, I’m not surprised tonnage was soft in June,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “I also remain concerned over the elevated inventory-to-sales ratio for retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers, which suggests soft tonnage in the months ahead until the ratio falls.”

Without seasonal adjustment, the index equaled 138.2 in June, which was 4.2% above May’s not-seasonally adjusted reading of 132.7.

“I remain hopeful that the inventory correction will transpire this summer,” said Costello. “When the correction ends, truck freight – helped by better personal consumption – will accelerate.”