I was hearing rumors from people in the industry that ‘peak season’ hadn’t showed up. Drayage companies and OTR brokers ramped up their staffing to cover increased demand, but it didn’t work out as expected. I’ve heard isolated stories of local layoffs reducing staff levels below June 2006.
In a potentially worrisome sign for the U.S. economy, domestic trucking shipments declined by almost 9 percent in November, marking the largest year-over-year decrease in almost six years, the industry’s largest trade association said.
The American Trucking Associations said in a monthly report that its seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index stands at its lowest level since late 2003, following an 8.8 percent decline versus the same month a year ago. The index fell 3.6 percent from the prior month.
Because more than two-thirds of all manufactured and retail goods in the U.S. are carried by truck, the industry is an economic bellwether.
When 2/3 of retail shipments start to drop, you have to wonder about the health of the economy……
From the Houston Chronicle
From the American Trucking Associations: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Plummeted 3.6 percent in November:
“November 2006 marked the single worst month for for-hire truck tonnage since the last recession,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Both the month-to-month and year-over-year decreases indicate that the economic slowdown is in full gear. The most troubling number is the 8.8 percent contraction from November 2005, despite the fact that year-over-year comparisons are difficult due to the very robust volumes during the same month last year. One month certainly doesn’t make a trend, but if we continue to see year-over-year reductions of similar magnitudes in the next couple of months, it could indicate a greater economic slowdown than economists are projecting at this point.”
Motor carriers collected $623 billion dollars, or 84.3 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.