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From the ATA:

ARLINGTON, VA The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in July. In June, SA tonnage fell 2.4 percent. July’s gain, which raised the SA index to 101.9 (2000=100), wasn’t large enough to completely offset the reduction in the previous month.  The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 106.3 in July, down 0.9 percent from June.

Compared with July 2008, SA tonnage fell 10.4 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since February 2009.  June’s 13.6 percent contraction was the largest year-over-year decrease of the current cycle.

08-26-09 tonnage graph

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that truck tonnage will continue to be choppy in the months ahead, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  “It is not unusual for an economic indicator to become volatile before changing direction,” Costello noted. He is hopeful that truck tonnage has finally hit bottom as it has been bouncing around a seven-year low for the last few months.  “While I am optimistic that the worst is behind us, I just don’t see anything on the economic horizon that suggests freight tonnage is about to rise significantly or consistently,” Costello said.  “Still, even small gains are better than the February 2008 through April 2009 cumulative tonnage reduction of 15.5 percent.”

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