American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted tonnage index rose 8.4% in September.
The gain, the largest year-over-year rise since December 2011, pushed tonnage up 5.4% for the first nine months of the year.
Month-to-month tonnage increased 1.4% to a reading of 128.7 in September, matching the August rise. ATA uses the year 2000 as a 100-reading baseline.
“I continue to be pleasantly surprised on the strength of truck tonnage,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “I attribute a part of tonnage’s robustness to the sectors of the economy that are growing fastest, like housing construction, auto production and energy output. These industries produce heavier-than-average freight, which leads to faster growth in tonnage versus a load or shipment measure.”
“While tonnage is likely running ahead of overall economic growth, perhaps the economy is stronger than many believe. The index has now increased in four of the last five months, and the year-over-year growth rate has accelerated,” Costello said.