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ATA Truck Tonnage Index rose 3.6% in May

“May was the first month since February 2023 in which tonnage increased both sequentially and year-on-year,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “While there was clearly an increase in freight volumes prior to the Memorial Day holiday, it is too early to say whether this is the beginning of a long-awaited recovery in the truck freight market.”

The decline in April was revised slightly upwards in our press release of May 21.

Compared to May 2023, the index rose by 1.5%, the first annual increase in fifteen months. In April, the index was 1.3% below the previous year’s level.

The non-seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in the actual tonnage carried by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 120.4 in May, up 7.1% from April. The ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.

When calculating the index, 100 stands for the year 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, accounting for 72.6% of the tonnage of all domestic freight transportation modes, including industrial and retail goods. Trucks transported 11.46 billion tons of freight in 2022. Trucking companies generated $940.8 billion, or 80.7% of total revenue from all transportation modes.

The ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its members and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a provisional figure and may change in the final report, which is published on the 5th day of each month. The report contains monthly and annual results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.

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