Monday, December 18, 2006

Truck-tonnage numbers

There's no consolation in the less scrutinized indicators, either, like the tonnage of freight carried by trucks. On Nov. 27, the American Trucking Assn. said its seasonally adjusted truck-tonnage index dropped 1.8% in October and was down 4% from a year earlier. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said "the latest number fits with anecdotal reports that the traditional fall freight season was essentially nonexistent this year." That's bad news because trucking is a barometer of the U.S. economy. David Rosenberg, chief North American economist of Merrill Lynch (MER), wrote that the truck-tonnage report "looked borderline recessionary, for lack of a more polite term." He said "this was the worst October for trucking activity since 1982, when the economy was in recession."