ATA's truck-tonnage index up 1 percent in December

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The American Trucking Associations (ATA) have released its advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index for December 2015, indicating a rise of 1 percent for the month.

The rise comes after a 0.9 percent decline in November, when the index totaled 134.3 (2000=100). In December, the index was 135.6, 0.1 percent below the record high of 135.8, set in January 2015.

When the index compares December 2014 to December 2015, it shows an increase amounting to 1.1 percent. This is significantly more than the year-over-year increase of 0.2 percent for November.

“Tonnage ended 2015 on a strong note, but it was not strong for the year as a whole,” Bob Costello, the ATA's chief economist, said. “With year-over-year gains averaging just 1.2 percent over the last four months, there was a clear deceleration in truck tonnage.”

For 2015 in its entirety, tonnage rose by 2.6 percent over 2014.

“At the expense of sounding like a broken record, I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain,” Costello said. “The total business inventory-to-sales record is at the highest level in over a decade, excluding the Great Recession period. This will have a negative impact on truck-freight volumes over the next few months at least. And this inventory cycle is overriding any strength from consumer spending and housing at the moment.”

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