For-Hire Truck Tonnage Falls Sharply In May “As Expected”
Arlington, Virginia – For-hire truck tonnage fell sharply in May after strong performance in April.
American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) reported on Tuesday that its advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.1% in May after jumping 7% in April.
In May, the index equaled 114 (2015=100) compared with 121.4 in April.
“As expected, tonnage corrected in May from the surprising surge in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.
“The economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. The good news is if you ignore recent highs and lows, tonnage appears to be leveling off, albeit at a high level,” Costello analyzed.
Compared with May 2018, the SA index increased 0.9%, the smallest year-over-year gain since April 2017.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.1 in May, 1.5% above April level (117.4).
In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.
According to a recent report by trucking industry analyst FTR, conditions for carriers continue to remain negative as shippers once again have the upper hand in freight negotiations.
Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking, commented, “Not that long ago, it seemed inconceivable that the good times in trucking would end, but here we are back down to Earth.”
Vise said that growth in manufacturing which he called “the most significant driver of trucking activity” has subsided.
Further, he pointed to residential construction remaining “stagnant” as a significant headwind for the trucking industry.
Vise said he expects carriers to continue to slow their driver hiring which could “set the stage for firmer capacity utilization down the road.”