Seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage fell 0.7 percent in April, decelerating from a revised 1.9 percent gain in March, the American Trucking Associations said.
The non-seasonally adjusted index, which reflects raw tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, dropped 8 percent from March.
“Don’t be alarmed by the sequential drop in the tonnage index,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The drop in April is not a concern.”
Freight volumes are volatile, and lower fuel prices will help boost freight volumes and motor carrier bottom lines in coming months and quarters, Costello said.
The April drop in truck tonnage, which reflects a drop in durable goods orders, follows a March marked by pent-up demand delayed by winter storms.
The seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index was up 4.8 percent year-over-year in April, compared with a 6.5 percent year-over-year gain in March.
Costello expects moderate growth in 2011. That outlook is shared by the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, which predicts 2.7 percent GDP growth in 2011.
The trade group expects manufacturing production to outpace the overall economy, however, with 6.2 percent growth in 2011 and 4.2 percent growth in 2012.