Trucking industry watchers continue to be optimistic about improving conditions in a sector that is considered a bellwether of the national economy.
The American Trucking Associations’ For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.5% in February, following a revised 1.9% increase in January. The latest drop put the index at 108.5 (2000=100), down from 109.1 in January.
Compared with February 2009, seasonally-adjust tonnage increased 2.6%, which was the third consecutive year-over-year gain. For the first two months of 2010, tonnage was up 3.5% compared with the same period last year. For all of 2009, the tonnage index contracted 8.7%, which was the largest annual decrease since 1982.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the February tonnage report obviously includes the severe winter storms that reduced truck freight movements, especially on the East Coast. Costello said anecdotal reports continue to point to sector gains despite the slight downturn in February.
“I continue to hear from motor carriers that both the demand and supply situations are steadily improving,” Costello said in an ATA statement. “Certainly it will take a while to make up the ground lost during the recession, but the industry is on the path to recovery.”
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