Trucking: The Barometer of the U.S. Economy?

American Trucking Associations and SelectUSA point to a link between over-the-road transportation and the national economy.

A Nov. 24, 2015 report issued by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said that its seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.9% in October, following a 0.7% decrease during September.

Despite the jump, “tonnage has been overall pretty flat this year,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

The release notes, “Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68.8% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled just under 10 billion tons of freight in 2014. Motor carriers collected $700.4 billion, or 80.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.” ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s.

On a broader scale, spending in the U.S. logistics and transportation industry was $1.33 trillion in 2012, according to a SelectUSA article. “Analysts expect industry investment to correlate with growth in the U.S. economy,” said the story.

SelectUSA includes the following industry subsectors: Logistics services, air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime, and trucking.

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