American Trucking Associations’advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was unchanged in December, following a jump of 3.5% during the previous month. In December, the index equaled 136.8 (2000=100), which tied November as the all-time high.
Compared with December 2013, the SA index increased 5.2%, which was the largest year-over-year gain in 2014. For the entire year, tonnage was up 3.5%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 133.5 in December which was 6.1% above the previous month (125.8).
“Economic data was mixed in December, with retail sales down 0.9% and factory output up 0.3%, so tonnage was in-between those two readings, which are two large drivers of truck freight,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Overall, 2014 was a good year for truck tonnage with significant gains throughout the year after falling 4.5% in January alone.”
Costello said that in December, tonnage was 10.2% above January.
“Freight volumes look good going into 2015,” Costello said. “Expect an acceleration in consumer spending and factory output to offset the weakness in hydraulic frackingthis year.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% 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 10th 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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