American Trucking Associations’ advanced for-hire truck tonnage index April’s was 2.7% below the same month last year, the group said.
The seasonally adjusted decline followed March’s 1.6% year-over-year increase, which had been the first gain since June 2006, ATA said.
The index’s reading of 112.1 was down from 114.6 in March. The not seasonally adjusted index from March fell 5.7% to 110.4, ATA said.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the April downturn was not surprising, given weak anecdotal reports from carriers and an unexpectedly strong showing in March.
“April’s tonnage figures highlight that the economy hasn’t turned the corner just yet,” Costello said. “We can expect this volatility to continue over the next few months, with the potential for more year-over-year contractions.”
He said the industry was likely to see a gradual improvement in volumes as the year progresses, due to an inventory correction and a better economic outlook for 2008, all of which should combine to boost truck volumes.
ATA calculates the tonnage each month based on reports by its member trucking companies.