American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped again in November, adding 2.3% in addition to the 3.9% jump during October. In November, the index equaled 151.8, up from 148.4 in October.
Compared with November 2016, the index surged 7.6%, which was down from October’s 10.5% year-over-year gain, but still very strong. In September, the index increased 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. Year-to-date, compared with the same eleven months in 2016, the index is up 3.5%.
ATA also revised its October monthly increase in the index up to a 3.9% jump from the previously reported 3.3% gain.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 147.1 in November, which was 3.1% below the previous month.
“The freight market is really strong,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The solid truck tonnage figures over the last four months suggest to me that this holiday spending season might be better than many expected, and the best in several years. The strength in tonnage also shows that other parts of the economy are doing well, too, including business investment, factory output, and even construction.”
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8% 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.