Truck tonnage volumes snapped two months of declines with an increase in May, according to data issued today by the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
The ATA’s advanced Seasonally Adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, for May, came in at 115.4 (2015=100), for a 2.4% increase, following decreases of 1.7% and 2.8%, in April and March, respectively.
On an annual basis, the May SA fell 1.3%, marking the third straight monthly decrease, while marking an improvement over 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, came in at 120 in May, topping April’s 109 reading by 10.1%.
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.
“Tonnage had a nice gain in May, but remains in recession territory,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. “The 2.4 percent gain didn’t erase the 4.5 percent total drop the previous two months. Additionally, tonnage continues to contract from year earlier levels as retail sales remain soft, manufacturing production continues to fall from a year ago, and housing starts contract from 2022 levels.”