American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.3% in January after falling 1% in December. In January, the index equaled 117.3 (2015=100), up from 114.7 in December.
ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision.
“After monthly declines in both November and December, tonnage snapped back in January,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I was very pleased to see this rebound. But we should expect some moderation in tonnage this year as most of the key sectors that generate truck freight tonnage are expected to decelerate.”
Compared with January 2018, the SA index increased 5.5%. In 2018, the index increased 6.7% over 2017, which was the largest annual gain since 1998.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 113.1 in January, which was 2.9% above the previous month (109.9). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.