Truck Tonnage Index down in November
Jan 2, 2007 11:44 AM
The advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index dropped 3.6 percent in November after falling 1.9 percent in October, the lowest level since late 2003, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
"November 2006 marked the single worst month for for-hire truck tonnage since the last recession," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. "Both the month-to-month and year-over-year decreases indicate that the economic slowdown is in full gear. The most troubling number is the 8.8 percent contraction from November 2005, despite the fact that year-over-year comparisons are difficult due to the very robust volumes during the same month last year. One month certainly doesn't make a trend, but if we continue to see year-over-year reductions of similar magnitudes in the next couple of months, it could indicate a greater economic slowdown than economists are projecting at this point."
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the tonnage index fell to 106.8 from 110.8 in October. The index decreased 8.8 percent compared with a year earlier, marking the largest year-over-year decrease since December 2000.
Year-to-date, the truck tonnage index was down 2.8 percent, compared with the same period in 2005. The not seasonally adjusted index decreased 9.5 percent from October to 106.5.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy because it represents nearly 70 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods, according to ATA. Trucks hauled 10.7 billion tons of freight in 2005. Motor carriers collected $623 billion dollars, or 84.3 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 tenth day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
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