American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.9% in July after falling 0.5% in June. In July, the index equaled 115 (2015=100), up from 112.8 in June.
ATA revised the June decline from the originally reported 0.4% to 0.5%.
Compared with July 2017, the seasonally adjusted index jumped 8.6%, up from June’s 7.7% year-over-year increase. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage increased 8%, far outpacing the annual gain of 3.8% in 2017.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.6 in July, which was 1.2% below the previous month (116.1).
“Truck freight remained very strong in July when accounting for normal seasonality,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Both the month-to-month and year-over-year gains were the largest in three months. This robust growth stems from solid manufacturing, retail sales, and construction activity. The industry’s biggest challenge isn’t finding enough freight, but recruiting and retaining quality drivers.”
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 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.
Fleets are being impacted by a variety of inflationary pressures ranging from higher acquisition prices due to the proliferation of onboard safety equipment, to increased material costs pushing up pricing on parts, upfits, and replacement tires.