U.S. truck tonnage as calculated by the American Trucking Associations jumped 6.6 percent in December over the same month in 2008, the first year-over-year increase in 15 months, ATA said Jan. 25.
ATA’s seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index increased 2.1 percent in December from November after a 2.6 percent decrease from October to November.
The index rose to a reading of 108.4, with the year 2000 as the base year at 100. December’s index was the highest since November 2008.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 103 in December, up 2.3 percent from November.
December’s reading was aided by economic growth and inventory increases, said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.
“However, economic activity is expected to moderate in the current quarter, which will keep a lid on tonnage growth,” Costello said in a statement. December’s increase was due in part to a 7.8 percent drop in the previous year, he added.
“There is no doubt that the industry is moving the right direction, but the level of freight will not be as strong as the year-over-year increases suggest because of how terrible it was in late 2008 and much of 2009,” he said.
ATA calculates the tonnage each month based on reports by its member trucking companies.