ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 1.1 percent in March after easing downward by 0.8 percent in February.
In March, the index equaled 110 (2015=100), down from 111.2 in February.
ATA revised the February decline from the originally reported 2.6 percent to 0.8 percent.
Compared with March 2017, the SA index jumped 6.3 percent, which was below February’s 7.7 percent year-over-year gain, but still well above 2017’s annual increase.
For all of 2017, the index increased 3.8 percent over 2016. In the first quarter of this year, tonnage rose 0.9 percent and 7.4 percent from the previous quarter and a year earlier, respectively.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.6 in March, which was 12.9 percent above the previous month (101.5).
“Despite a softer March and February, truck freight tonnage remains solid as exhibited in the year-over-year increase of 6.3 percent,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “While I expect the pace of growth to continue moderating in the months ahead, if for no other reason than year-over-year comparisons will become more difficult as tonnage snapped back in May of 2017, the levels of freight will remain good going forward.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.6 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8 percent 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 the 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.