The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index contracted by 0.3% in October, following a 6.3% drop during September.
In October, the index equaled 131.6, down from 131.9 in September and was well below the all-time high reading of 144 in February of this year. Compared to October 2015, the index shrank by 0.9%, the second straight year-over-year decline. However, year-to-date, compared to 2015, tonnage was actually up 2.5%.
“Retail sales, housing starts, and even factory output all improved in October, which is a good sign,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “Most importantly, there has been considerable progress made in clearing out excess stocks throughout the supply chain. While that correction is still ongoing, there has been enough improvement that the negative drag on tonnage shouldn’t be as large going forward.”
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before being seasonally adjusted, equaled 138.2, which was 1.9% above the previous month at 135.6.
“While seasonally adjusted tonnage fell, meaning the not seasonally adjusted gain wasn’t as large as expected, the bottom of the current tonnage cycle should be near,” said Costello. “There are some recent trends that suggest truck freight should improve, albeit gradually, soon.”