ATA Truck Tonnage Index
sinks 2.4% in June 2009
Aug 4, 2009 2:46 PM
The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 2.4% in June 2009. In May, SA tonnage jumped 3.2%. June’s decrease, which lowered the SA index to 99.8 (2000=100), wasn’t large enough to completely offset the robust gain in the previous month. The not seasonally adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 107.3 in June, up 5.2% from May.
Compared with June 2008, tonnage fell 13.6%, which surpassed May’s 11% year-over-year drop. June’s contraction was the largest year-over-year decrease of the current cycle, exceeding the 13.2% drop in April.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said truck tonnage is likely to be choppy in the months ahead. “While I am hopeful 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. “The consumer is still facing too many headwinds, including employment losses, tight credit, and falling home values—to name a few—that will make it very difficult for household spending to jump in the near term.”
He also said inventories, relative to sales, are still too high in much of the supply chain, especially in the manufacturing and wholesale industries. “As a result, this is likely to be the first time in memory that truck tonnage doesn’t lead the macro economy out of a recession. Today, many new product orders can be fulfilled with current inventories, not new production, thus suppressing truck tonnage,” he said.
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