The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index climbed 7.2% in February to 144, a record high. This follows a 0.3% dip in January (revised from an originally reported 1.4% decline). The index in February is up 8.6% compared to February 2015.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, though, cautions against reading too much into February’s result. “The strength was mainly due to a weaker than average January, including bad winter storms, thus there was some catch-up going on in February,” he says. He adds, “If March is strong, then I’ll get more excited.”
Still, February represents the largest monthly move for the index since January 2013 (11.4%) and the largest year-over-year increase since December 2013 (10.4%). Costello says, “I’m still concerned about the elevated inventories throughout the supply chain."
Last week, the Census Bureau reported that, relative to sales, inventories rose again in January, which is troubling.” The ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.