American Trucking Association Reports – Tonnage is Off

Truck shipments fell for the second consecutive month in May, according to the American Trucking Associations.

The trade organization reported Monday that its advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 2.3 percent in May, building on a revised April tonnage decline of 0.6 percent, slightly better than the ATA’s preliminary estimate of a 0.7 percent loss.

The index of tonnage actually hauled, which doesn’t adjust for seasonal factors, was 115.9 in May, 2 percent more than April.

“Truck tonnage over the last four months shows that the economy definitely hit a soft patch this spring,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a written statement. “With our index falling in three of the last four months totaling 3.7 percent, it is clear why there is some renewed anxiety over the economic recovery.”

Lower oil and diesel prices and Japan’s auto industry finally getting back to normal after the March 11 tsunami should lead to a slightly better economic environment in the second half of the year, he said.

Compared with a year earlier, May tonnage was up 2.7 percent, the smallest year-to-year gain since February 2010. It had been up 4.8 percent in April compared with a year earlier.

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