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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Up 3.3% in October

The American Trucking Associations’ For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 3.3% in October, following a 1.9% decline during September.

In October, the seasonally adjusted index was at 147.6 (with the year 2000=100), up from 142.9 in September.

Compared with October of 2016, the index was up 9.9%, the largest year-over-year increase since December 2013.

Year-to-date, compared with the same 10 months in 2016, the index is up 3.1%.

A companion index which is not seasonally adjusted, and thus represents the change in tonnage actually hauled during the month by the fleets, was at 151 in October,  5.1% above the previous month (143.7).

“Continued improvement in truck tonnage reflects a much stronger freight market,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

“This strength is the result of several factors, including consumption, factory output, construction and improved inventory levels throughout the supply chain.

“Additionally, the 6.7% rise in tonnage over the last four months suggests to me that retailers are expecting a good holiday spending season.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods.

Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

The ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership.

The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry, with 50 affiliated state trucking associations.

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