Truck tonnage rose 3.2 percent from a year ago in August but dropped 0.9 percent from July, according to the American Trucking Associations.
Lower manufacturing output and a spike in inventories curtailed freight demand in August, compared with June and July, said ATA Economist Bob Costello.
“While choppy, tonnage has essentially been flat this year with August being the second lowest month of the year,” Costello said in a statement Tuesday.
Industrial production fell 1.2 percent in August from the previous month, after rising 0.5 percent in July, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Manufacturing output decreased 0.7 percent from July after rising 0.4 percent in both July and June.
The ATA seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 3.7 percent year-over-year in July, and tonnage is expected to rise less than 3.5 percent in 2012.
ATA revised its July data to indicate tonnage increased 0.4 percent in July from June. Preliminary data indicated tonnage was flat month-to-month.
Year-to-date, compared with the same eight months in 2011, tonnage is up 3.7 percent year-over-year.
“Expect tough year-over-year comparisons to continue through the rest of the year as tonnage grew nicely during the last five months of 2011,” Costello said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc