Econintersect: Just one more indication the economy is in a growth spurt, the American Trucking Association reported its advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.8 percent in January.
The ATA index increased a revised 2.5 percent in December 2010. The latest jump put the SA index at 117.1 (2000=100) in January, which was the highest level since January 2008. In December, the SA index equaled 112.7.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that he was very pleased with January’s robust gain, especially considering the winter storms during the month. “Many fleets told us that freight was solid in January, although operations were as challenge due to the winter storms that hit large parts of the country.” Costello also stated that the latest tonnage numbers indicate that the economy is growing at a good clip early in 2011 and he expects a solid first half of the year. “At this point, the biggest threat is the recent run-up in oil prices, which could dampen consumer spending.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 8.8 billion tons of freight in 2009. Motor carriers collected $544.4 billion, or 81.9 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.