Index 1.3% Below May 2022
Washington — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 2.4% in May after decreasing 1.7% in April. In May, the index equaled 115.4 (2015=100) compared with 112.7 in April.
“Tonnage had a nice gain in May, but remains in recession territory,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “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.”
April’s decline was unchanged from our May 23 press release.
Compared with May 2022, the SA index decreased 1.3%, which was the third straight year-over-year decrease. In April, the index was down 3.4% from a year earlier.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 120 in May, 10.1% above the April level (109). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, or 80.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.