Prominent Trucking Economist Predicts “Truck Freight to Continue Rising”

Alexandria, VA – A prominent trucking economist is predicting tonnage to continue on an upward trajectory as a new report indicates good news for the trucking sector.

On Tuesday, American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Chief Economist Bob Costello expressed optimism about the months ahead and commented on the latest truck tonnage index report which showed a 7.4% increase in December after rising 3.2% in November.


“Tonnage ended last year on a high note,” said Costello. “The index not only registered the largest monthly gain since June, but it also had the first year-over-year increase since March.”

Costello noted that the increase is due in part to strong consumer consumption, retail restocking and a surge in single-family home construction.

Also adding to the bump is both the most recent round of COVID-19 relief stimulus checks and the anticipation by consumers there will likely be another in the near future.

“With the stimulus checks recently issued and with a strong possibility of more in the near future, I would expect truck freight to continue rising,” Costello predicted.

In comparison with December 2019, the seasonally adjusted (SA) index rose 2.3%.


For all of 2020, compared with the same 12-month period in 2019, tonnage was down 3.3%.

2019 had an annual increase of 3.3%, ATA reported.

“Because of the pandemic, 2020 was obviously a very challenging year for the economy overall, and that is reflecting in the tonnage index’s dip from the previous year,” Costello said. “Despite that, truck tonnage clearly outperformed the broader economy as freight continued to move in the face of a myriad of COVID-related challenges faced by the country.”

The short-term economic outlook continues to be positive especially given that any new tax and regulation increases sought by the incoming Biden Administration will take some time to take hold.



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