Bad winter storms and a later than normal Easter holiday may have contributed to a 2.3% dip in American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index for the month of March.
At 113.2, the latest decrease continues a downward trend from February, where the index fell by 1.5% to 115.8, a number that was revised downward after ATA’s initial report. Compared to March of last year, the index was up 1.6%. For the whole first quarter, truck tonnage was up 3.8% year-over-year.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 116.3 in March, 10.3% above February’s level (105.5). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.
“In March, and really the first quarter in total, tonnage was negatively impacted by bad winter storms throughout much of the U.S.,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “While I expected tonnage to moderate in the first quarter, the late Easter holiday and the winter storms made it worse. It is likely that tonnage will improve in the second quarter, although year-over-year gains will be significantly below the 2018 annual increase of 6.7%.”