October truck tonnage data, which was issued this week by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), saw sequential declines and annual gains.
The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, for October, came in at 116.3 (2015=100), down 2.3% compared to September’s 119.1, which was upwardly revised from an original reading of 118.8.
The October SA reading rose 2.8% annually, marking its 14th consecutive annual monthly gain, albeit its smallest gain going back to April. This annual gain was below September’s 5.7% annual gain, and on a year-to-date basis through October, SA tonnage is up 3.9%.
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, came in at 118.9, down 0.4% compared to September’s 119.3 reading. ATA bases its NSA tonnage reading on a baseline with 100 representing 2015, adding that its For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
“For-hire truck tonnage saw the largest single monthly decrease in October since the start of the pandemic,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “The decrease fits with the anecdotal reports of a muted fall freight season. It also coincides with a slowing economy. Housing is a weak spot in freight in addition to a slowing in personal consumption of goods. While factory related freight is holding up better than other areas, it is also decelerating.”