ATA Truck Tonnage Index Experiences First Y/Y Decrease Since August 2021

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index fell 5.4% in March to 111.6 after increasing 0.9% in February to 118. Compared with March 2022, the index decreased 5%, marking the first year-over-year decrease since August 2021. In February, the index was up 1.9% from a year earlier. During the first quarter, tonnage was 0.6% below the same three-month period in 2022.

“After increasing a total of 2.6% during the three previous months, March’s sequential decline was the largest monthly drop since April 2020 during the start of the pandemic,” Bob Costello, chief economist of the ATA, said. “Falling home construction, decreasing factory output and soft retail sales all hurt contract freight tonnage — which dominates ATA’s tonnage index — during the month. Despite the largest year-over-year drop since October 2020, contract freight remains more robust than the spot market, which continues to see prolonged weakness.”

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 117.2 in March, marking a 9.3% increase from the February level (107.2).

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