An index of truck tonnage rose slightly in May, rebounding from a dip in April despite the burden of slowing growth in economic indicators including retail sales, housing starts, and manufacturing output, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said today.
ATA’s advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.5% in May after falling 1.4% in April. By the numbers, that index was 117.1 in May compared to 116.5 in April, with a baseline of 100 set for 2015 conditions.
“The transition in the freight market continued in May with the index hitting the second highest level since the pandemic started,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a release. “Specifically on the market transition, ATA’s tonnage index is dominated by contract freight. The traditional spot market has slowed as freight softens, but these contract carriers are backfilling any losses in freight with loads from shippers that reducing spot market exposure. Essentially the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market.”
Compared with May 2021, the latest monthly index increased 3.7%, which was the ninth straight year-over-year gain and the largest since April 2021. Looking at broader trends, the year-to-date figure for 2022 showed tonnage was up 2.7% compared with same period in 2021.
The ATA report echoes another trucking sector measure released this week that showed a stronger than expected April, after freight transportation analysis firm FTR said its Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) rebounded to a reading of 3.21 for April after sinking to -7.38 for March.