The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index edged 0.1% higher in June 2013 after surging 2.1% in May. May’s increase was slightly lower than the 2.3% gain ATA reported June 18, 2013.
In June, the SA index equaled 125.9 (2000=100) versus 125.8 in May. June 2013 is the highest level on record. Compared with June 2012, the SA index surged 5.9%, which is robust, although below May’s 6.5% year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, versus the same period in 2012, the tonnage index is up 4.7%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 125.9 in June, which was 5% below the previous month (132.4).
“The fact that tonnage didn’t fall back after the 2.1% surge in May is quite remarkable,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “While housing starts were down in June, tonnage was buoyed by other areas like auto production, which was very strong in June; and durable-goods output, which increased 0.5% during the month, according to the Federal Reserve.
“Robust auto sales also helped push retail sales higher, helping tonnage in June,” he said. “The trend this year is heavy freight, like autos and energy production, is growing faster than lighter freight, which is pushing truck tonnage up.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 68.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.4 billion tons of freight in 2012. Motor carriers collected $642.1 billion, or 80.7% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.