American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7% in June after rising 0.3% in May. In June, the index equaled 120.1 (2015=100) versus 116.9 in May.
“June’s jump tells me a couple of things: first, the transition in the freight market from spot back to contract continues – ATA’s tonnage index is dominated by contract freight, so while the spot market has slowed as freight softens, contract carriers are backfilling those losses with loads from shippers reducing spot market exposure. Essentially, the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Second, and perhaps equally important, while economic growth is expected to be soft overall in the second quarter, the goods-economy wasn’t as bad as feared,” he said.
May’s increase was revised down from our June 21 press release.
Compared with June 2021, the SA index increased 7.9%, which was the tenth straight year-over-year gain and the largest since June 2018. In May, the index was up 3.5% from a year earlier. During the third quarter, the index rose 1.1% from the previous quarter and 4.6% from the same quarter in 2021.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 124.5 in June, 4.2% above the May level (119.5). 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 72.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.23 billion tons of freight in 2020. Motor carriers collected $732.3 billion, or 80.4% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.