The American Trucking Assns. (ATA ) seasonally-adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index increased 1.3% in June, marking the second consecutive month-to-month gain as the index reached its highest point since February 2008.

The index was 5.4% higher than June 2007, marking the eighth consecutive year-over-year increase, ATA said.

“It seems that truck tonnage is once again leading the U.S. economy,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “During the 2000-2001 cycle, trucking pulled out of a recession before the aggregate economy fell into one. Unfortunately, truck tonnage could slow later this year as the overall economy is expected to be quite weak in the fourth quarter and the first quarter of next year.”

Costello added that industry capacity has tightened as high fuel prices has forced some fleets out of the market and has led other carriers to reduce the size of their fleets, a trend he expects to continue in the near-term.

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