June saw improvement in ATA’s Truck Tonnage Index, but numbers lag 1.3% behind 2019

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Loading Freight Into Trailer
According to the American Trucking Association’s latest For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, freight increased by 8.7% in June compared to May.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 8.7% in June after falling 1% in May. In June, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) compared with 106.1 in May.

“Not surprisingly, as more states lifted restrictions in June, truck tonnage was robust,” said Bob Costello, chief economist for ATA.

“While the gain in June was the single best month since January 2013, the solid gain was not enough to put tonnage back to pre-pandemic levels, but it is close,” he continued. “I am hearing good anecdotal freight reports for July, but I am concerned that freight could slow as more states reinstate restrictions due to increasing coronavirus cases.”

May’s drop in freight tonnage was unrevised from ATA’s June 23 press release, standing at -1%.

Compared with June 2019, the seasonally adjusted index contracted 1.3% — the third straight year-over-year decline, but the smallest over that period. Year to date, compared with the same period in 2019, tonnage is down 2.4%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 115.5 in June, 5.2% above the May level (109.8). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. These are preliminary figures and are subject to change in the final report, which is issued around the fifth day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.

ATA graph
(Courtesy: American Trucking Associations)

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