Truck tonnage volumes increased in June, according to data issued this week by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, for June, came in at 116.5 (2015=100), rising 1.2% over May’s 114.1 reading. This marked the second straight monthly increase, which was preceded by decreases in March and April, respectively.
On an annual basis, the June SA was down 0.8%, marking the fourth consecutive annual decrease, faring better than May’s 1.3% annual decrease and April’s 3.4% annual decrease, its largest annual decrease since February 2021.
The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment and the metric ATA says fleets should benchmark their levels with, saw a 120.8 June reading, topping May by 1.8%, which was well below May’s 10.1% increase over April.
ATA bases its NSA tonnage reading on a baseline with 100 representing 2015, adding that the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
“While the tonnage index increased in both May and June, it remains in recession territory,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “The index continues to fall from a year earlier and is off 1.9% from its recent peak in September 2022. A multitude of factors have caused a recession in freight, including stagnant consumer spending on goods, lower home construction, falling factory output, and shippers consolidating freight into fewer shipments compared with the frenzy during the goods buying spree at the height of the pandemic. However, the magnitude of the year-over-year declines is improving, perhaps pointing to a bottom in the freight market.”