The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.3% in July 2011 after rising a revised 2.6% in June 2011. June’s drop was slightly less than the 2.8% ATA reported July 26, 2011. The latest pullback put the SA index at 114 (2000=100) in July, down from the June level of 115.5.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 111 in July, which was 9% below the previous month.
Compared with July 2010, SA tonnage was up 3.9%. In June 2011, the tonnage index was 6.5% above the same month a year earlier.
“We had heard that freight weakened from a robust June, that that was true,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. Tonnage has fallen in three of the last four months on a sequential basis.
“Despite a solid June, our truck tonnage index fits with an economy that is growing very slowly,” Costello said. “The good news is that tonnage continues to increase on a year-over-year basis, but it is likely that the rate of growth will moderate in the second half of the year.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9 billion tons of freight in 2010. Motor carriers collected $563.4 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.