Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) trucking index rose 0.2% month-over-month in March 2012 following a 0.5% rise in February. Compared with March 2011, seasonally adjusted tonnage was up 2.7%.
From the press release:
“March tonnage, and the first quarter overall, was reflective of an economy that is growing, but growing moderately,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “The pace of freight definitely slowed from the torrid pace in late 2011.”
“Most economic indicators still look good, which will continue to support tonnage going forward,” he said. Costello also noted that the industry should not expect the rate of growth seen over the last couple of years, when tonnage grew 5.8% in both 2010 and 2011. “Expect tonnage overall this year to be up at a more moderate rate, perhaps less than 3%, which is more in-line with normal growth.”
Econintersect analysis shows trucking tonnage was in a tight range all of 2011 – but the December tonnage increase put the index at highs not seen before, and remains the largest year-over-year gain since July 1998.
Econintersect tries to validate data across data sources. The increases in tonnage seem to correlate with truck transport employment since 2010.