American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.6% in August 2014 following a gain of 1.5% the previous month. In August, the index equaled 132.6 (2000=100) versus 130.5 in July. August’s index is the highest on record, surpassing November 2013 (131.0).
Compared with August 2013, the SA index climbed 4.5%, up from July’s 3.7% year-over-year gain. The latest year-over-year advance was the largest yet in 2014. Year-to-date, versus the same period in 2013, tonnage is up 3.1%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 133.5 in August, which was 0.1% below the previous month (133.6).
“After a strong July, factory production and housing starts fell in August on a month-to-month basis,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “Truck tonnage actually did the opposite. Not only did it increase, it accelerated.”
Costello said tonnage is up 3.1% over the past two months alone and has surged 6.8% since hitting a recent low in January.
“I’m optimistic about the second half of the year for the economy, which means truck tonnage should do well, too,” he said.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.