Durable goods manufacturing and retail sales led the economic recovery in 2010, according to a preliminary study by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Manufacturing value added -- a measure of an industry's contribution to GDP -- rose 5.8 percent in 2010 after declining two consecutive years, the BEA said.
Retail trade value added rose 5.2 percent last year after two years of contraction as consumers returned to stores, the Commerce Department agency said April 26.
That helped put goods back in containers, boxcars and trailers, increasing freight volumes in international and domestic transportation lanes in the U.S.
Manufacturing is contributing to an increase in truck tonnage, which jumped 6.3 percent from a year ago in March, the American Trucking Associations said.
Durable-goods manufacturing in the U.S. increased 9.9 percent last year after declining 12.7 percent in 2009, according to the BEA analysis.
The manufacturing of nondurable goods such as food and clothing was up 0.8 percent in 2010, after declining a more modest 3.4 percent in 2009.