October 23, 2018 - ATA index highlights: a September drop in August; 3Q ekes out a small gain

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Highlights from the American Trucking Associations’ seasonally-adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, released today.

  • It dropped 0.8% in September, down to 11.8 from 112.7 in August. ATA chief economist Bob Costello: “As anticipated, the year-over-year gains have slowed on strength a year earlier, but there is no doubt that freight softened in August and September.”

  • The full third quarter still was up 0.1% from the second quarter. July was strong, and that helped propel the small rise from 2Q. The August index was revised down 2% from July; the original report was that August dropped 1.8% from July.

  • The index also up 5.2% from the third quarter of 2017.

  • The September number was up 2.9% from the corresponding month a year ago. But that is a slowing rate of growth; August was up 4.2% from a year ago.

  • The index without the seasonal adjustment was way down from August, a drop of 8.2%. The ATA defines not seasonally adjusted as “tonnage actually hauled before any seasonal adjustment.” 

  • The ATA did not cite this but any comparison to September 2017 needs to recognize that particular month was affected by emergency-related deliveries from Hurricane Harvey.

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