The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.2 percent in January, following a revised gain of 0.1 percent during the previous month. The January index equaled 135.7 (2000=100), which is an all-time high.
Compared with January 2014, the SA index increased 6.6 percent, which was the largest year-over-year gain in more than a year.
Meanwhile, the not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 126.9 in January which was 3.5 percent below the previous month (131.5).
ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. For all of 2014, tonnage was up 3.7 percent, slightly better than the 3.4 percent originally reported. In 2013, the index increased 5.5 percent.
“Truck tonnage continued to improve in January, marking the fourth straight gain totaling 3.5 percent,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Last year was slightly better for truck tonnage than we originally thought and I am expecting that momentum to continue in 2015.”
Costello added that since bottoming out in March 2014, tonnage is up 6.7 percent.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1 percent 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 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.