Truck tonnage rose 2.6% in February from a year ago, the third consecutive year-over-year gain, American Trucking Associations said Thursday.
ATA’s seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index slipped 0.5% from January to February, following a revised 1.9% month-to-month figure for January that had originally been reported at 3.1%.
For the first two months of this year, seasonally adjusted tonnage was up 3.5% over the same period last year, while for all of 2009 the index contracted 8.7%, marking the largest annual decrease since 1982.
But ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello told CNBC in an interview aired Thursday
“things are starting to pick up a little and we are cautiously optimistic” that will continue.
“I continue to hear from motor carriers that both the demand and supply situations are steadily improving,” Costello said in a statement. “Certainly it will take a while to make up the ground lost during the recession, but the industry is on the path to recovery.”
Costello said he expects to see some volatility on a month-to-month basis throughout this year, but the trend line should be for moderate growth.
ATA calculates the tonnage each month based on reports by its member trucking companies.