Truck tonnage fell slightly in November according to the American Trucking Association. At first glance this might look like a negative report, however, the year over year figures remain relatively healthy and the ATA’s Chief Economist, Bob Costello, says we shouldn’t read too much into the small decline. FedEx’s recent earnings as well as continuing strong data from the rail industry would appear to support his comments (via ATA):
The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index edged 0.1 percent lower in November after increasing a revised 0.9 percent in October. In September and October, tonnage increased a total of 2.8 percent. The latest reduction put the SA index at 109.7 (2000=100) in November from 109.9 in October.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 108.9 in November, down 3.7 percent from the previous month.
Compared with November 2009, SA tonnage climbed 3.9 percent, which was significantly lower than October’s 6 percent year-over-year increase. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 5.9 percent compared with the same period in 2009.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that he is not overly concerned with the small decrease in tonnage during November. “Tonnage increased for two consecutive months in September and October and I don’t expect volumes to rise every month. Additionally, the decrease in November is much smaller than the gains during the previous two months.” Costello said he expects truck freight tonnage to grow modestly during the first half of 2011 before accelerating in the later half of the year into 2012.