The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index dropped by 4.5% in March after climbing 7.2% to a record high in February. Year-over-year, the index is up by 2.2%. The decrease is the index’s largest monthly contraction since September 2012, when it dropped 5.3%.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says a correction was expected after February’s surprisingly large gain. “The freight economy continues to be mixed, with housing and consumer spending generally giving support to tonnage, while new fracking activity and factory output being drags,” he adds. “In addition, freight volumes are softer than the overall economy because of the current inventory overhang throughout the supply chain.”
Costello remained measured last month when February’s strong gain was reported, stating, “If March is strong, then I’ll get more excited.” The ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.