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July, YTD trucking tonnage up

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ARLINGTON, Va. (Aug. 20, 2014) — Trucking activity rose in July both year-over-year and vs. June, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported recently, reflecting strong factory output data and a jump in housing starts.

The ATA reported its seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.3 percent in July over June, following a drop of 0.8 percent in June from May. Compared with July 2013, the index increased 3.6 percent, up from June’s 2.3-percent year-over-year gain, the ATA said.  

The latest year-over-year increase was the largest in three months and pushes the index to within a whisper of the all-time high, recorded last November. Year-to-date, compared

“After a surprising decrease in June, tonnage really snapped back in July,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “This gain fits more with the anecdotal reports we are hearing from motor carriers that freight volumes are good.

“The solid tonnage number in July fits with the strong factory output reading and a jump in housing starts for the same month,” he said. “I continue to expect moderate, but good, tonnage growth for the rest of the year.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, the ATA said, representing 69.1 of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013, and motor carriers collected $681.7 billion in revenue.

The ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership, a method it’s been practicing since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month.

The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 133.3 in July which was 0.8 percentage points above the previous month.  

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