ATA Truck Tonnage Index inches upward
May 1, 2009 12:00 PM
The American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index edged 1.7% higher in February 2009, marking the second consecutive month-to-month increase. Still, the gain over the past two months, totaling 4.8%, did not even erase the 7.8% contraction in December 2008.
In February, the seasonally adjusted tonnage index equaled just 106.5 (2000 = 100), which is still extremely low. Also in February, the fleets reported lower volumes than in January, as the not seasonally adjusted index fell another 2% in February on top of January's 4.4% drop. In February, the not seasonally adjusted index equaled 95.3.
Compared with February 2008, tonnage contracted 9.2%, which was the third-worst year-over-year decrease of the current cycle.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello was very cautious about reading too much into February's seasonally adjusted month-to-month improvement.
“Tonnage will not fall every month on a seasonally adjusted basis, and just because it rose again in February doesn't mean the economy is on the mend,” Costello said. “Tonnage plunged again on a year-over-year basis, which highlights the current weakness in the freight environment.” He also noted that fleets are still witnessing a tough environment, and there is nothing that suggests freight volumes are about to embark on a sustained recovery.
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