U.S. truck tonnage index down 0.7 pct in May image

The index that tracks tonnage hauled by American trucks fell 0.7% in May after falling 1.1% in April, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said on Tuesday.

The drops in tonnage are reflective of the broader economy, which has slowed,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist.

“The good news is that the decrease in fuel prices will help support retail sales going forward, which is a big part of truck tonnage,” Costello added in a statement.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9 billion tons of freight in 2010. Motor carriers collected $563.4 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

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