The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) advanced seasonally adjusted Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.8% in February, following a .3% decline in January, the association said today.
The February increase put the industry in a strong position as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the association says it anticipates a slowdown in the second quarter.
“Last month, solid housing starts, high levels of retail sales, and even a modest improvement in manufacturing activity all helped freight volumes,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement announcing the monthly findings. “... Trucking volumes, early in the COVID-19 emergency, will be positive for consumer staples and other commodities before we see a slowdown as the economy contracts in the second quarter.”
Compared with February 2019, the seasonally adjusted index rose 2.6%, which was preceded by a 0.4% year-over-year gain in January, the association said. During the first two months of the year, the index rose 1.5% compared with the same two months last year. In 2019, the index was 3.3% above 2018.
ATA calculates the monthly tonnage index based on member surveys. The preliminary figure is subject to change in the final report issued around the fifth of each month, the association said.