The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged in April following a decline in March, the group said Tuesday.
Tonnage hauled by fleets grew 7.4 percent compared with March and 7.7 percent compared with April 2018—its largest year-over-year gain since July—according to ATA.
Association leaders cautioned that the results should be viewed in the context of the broader economy, noting that April's increase was partially due to a catch-up effect following weakness in February and March. In addition, a later than usual Easter holiday may have pushed freight ordinarily moved in March into April, according to ATA.
"I do not think the fundamentals underlying truck tonnage are as strong as April's figure would indicate, but this may signal that any fears of a looming freight recession may have been overblown," ATA's Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement announcing the results.
ATA's For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index gauges tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation and is based on monthly member surveys.