American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 2.5% in November after slipping 1.2% in October. In November, the index equaled 114.7 (2015=100) versus 117.6 in October.
“For-hire truck tonnage saw the largest single monthly decrease in November since the start of the pandemic and a total drop of 3.7% in October and November,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The decreases match anecdotal reports of a soft fall freight season as well as a slowing goods-economy generally. Housing-related freight is particularly weak.”
October’s decline was revised up from our November 22 press release.
Compared with November 2021, the SA index increased 0.8%, which was the fifteenth straight year-over-year gain, but the smallest over that period. In October, the index was up 4% from a year earlier. Year-to-date through November, compared with the same period in 2021, tonnage was up 3.7%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.6 in November, 4.6% below the October level (120.2). 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 72.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, or 80.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.