News that freight demand in the U.S. continues to decline is not good news for Fort Smith-based Arkansas Best Corp. and Van Buren-based USA Truck Inc.
Both companies have previously noted the slowdown in their business, with Arkansas Best Corp., one of the nation’s largest less-than-truckload carriers, having cut positions at its corporate headquarters.
The American Trucking Associations reports that total goods shipped in the U.S. by trucks fell 3 percent in October. It was the fourth consecutive month-over-month drop, with the ATA index hitting its lowest point in five years.
“October should be the busiest month of the year, but instead this October was a fizzle,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello told the Associated Press. “The latest truck tonnage drop suggests that retailers are very pessimistic for the holiday sales season.”
Costello said unexpected drop in October freight tonnage indicates that fourth quarter shipments. typically strong because of holiday shipments, will also lag historic trends.
The trucking sector is considered a gauge of economic activity because it hauls about 70 percent of retail and manufactured products.