The American Trucking Associations said its advanced seasonally adjusted, for-hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 2.8 percent in October, the first decrease since July. September's index was up 0.5 percent, down from the preliminary 1.4 percent gain ATA reported a month ago.
The index is based on a survey of member companies. In October, the index equaled 124 compared to 127.5 in September. October's level was the lowest since April. However, it was up 8 percent from October 2012, which is the largest year-over-year gain since December 2011.
Year-to-date, the tonnage index is up 5.5 percent.
"From May through September, the index surged 3.5 percent, including only one monthly decrease over that period," ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. "It isn't surprising for volumes to fall back some after such a good run.
“Despite October’s month-to-month decrease, we saw a very robust year-over-year increase, and I’m seeing some good signs out of the trucking industry that suggests the economy may be a little stronger than we think,” he continued. “Specifically, the heavy freight sectors, like tank truck, have been helping tonnage this year. But in the third quarter, generic dry van truckload freight saw the best quarterly gains since 2010. I view this positively for the economy. I view it positively for trucking. Now, we have to see if it continues.”