ATA tonnage index down 0.9% in August from July

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index dropped 0.9% in August to 118.3 after increasing a revised 0.4% in July. ATA had initially reported no change in July from June. While the August decrease did not erase the cumulative 1.5% gain in June and July, it was a significant reversal. Compared with August 2011, the SA index was 3.2% higher. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage was up 3.7%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 126.8 in August, which was 5.7% above the previous month.
“While there has been acceleration in housing during the last few months, truck tonnage is being weighed down by a flattening in manufacturing output and an unintentional increase in inventories throughout the supply chain,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “While choppy, tonnage has essentially been flat this year with August being the second-lowest month of the year.”

Costello warned that year-over-year comparisons would be tough for the rest of the year because of strong increases in the last five months of 2011. He added that the economy likely will not grow much during the rest of the year, so the tonnage increase in 2012 over 2011 likely will be less than 3.5%.

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