As tracked by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA), truck tonnage rose again in May, but the big news is that the latest numbers indicate freight is trending up across a broader front.
ATA stated that its latest seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1% in May. That follows a revised 0.9% improvement in the previous month. In May, the index equaled 129.7 (2000=100) vs. 128.3 in April. The index is off just 1% from the all-time high in November 2013 (131.0), ATA noted.
Compared with May of 2013, the seasonally adjusted index went up 3.4%. While that figures is down vs. April’s 4.2% year-over-year gain, ATA pointed out that ranks as the second-largest increase so far in 2014. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 2.9%.
As for ATA’s not seasonally adjusted index (which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment), it came in at 133 for May—or 1.8% above the previous month’s 130.7.
“I’m pleased at the direction of freight, highlighted by May’s fourth consecutive gain in tonnage totaling 4.5%,” commented ATA chief economist Bob Costello.
“While the year-to-date improvement is running behind last year’s robust 6.3% increase, gains this year are more broad-based,” he continued.
“It isn’t just heavy freight for sectors like tank truck and flatbed from energy and housing [activity] that are improving this year,” Costello explained. “Now, generic dry-van trailer freight is doing better as well, which wasn’t the case in 2013. This is a good sign for the economy.”
An ATA-produced video of Costello discussing tonnage can be viewed here.