ATA: For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index down 1.4 percent in January

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The For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), dipped 1.4 percent in January, ATA said this week.

This follows a no-change reading in the index for December.

The index, which is seasonally adjusted, registered 132.8 for January, compared with 134.7 in December, a record high. November also registered a record high.

The January reading was the same as January 2015, though December saw a 0.8 percent year-over-year gain.

For the entire year, 2015 saw a 2.6 percent rise compared with 2014.

“Clearly, 2016 started soft for truck tonnage,” Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist, said. “There was a deceleration in freight volumes during the second half of 2015, which continued into the first month of 2016. “The winter storms that hit in January likely suppressed volumes some, but by falling 1.4 percent, I doubt tonnage would have been positive without the storms. So that tells me that the inventory situation continues to weigh on truck freight volumes. The sooner the supply chain cleans out the excess stocks, the better for trucking.”

Trucking is an important barometer for the health of the U.S. economy, as it is used to transport 68.8 percent of domestic freight.

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