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In March, the SA index equaled 123.5, after the highest level was recorded in December 2011 at 124.3. Compared with March 2012, the SA index was up a "solid" 3.8 percent, beating February's 3.1 percent year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2012, the tonnage index is up 3.9 percent. Since November 2012, the index is up 7.6 percent.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 125.2 in March, 11.5 percent above the previous month.
"Fitting with the expectation for solid gross domestic product growth in the first quarter, tonnage was strong in March and the quarter overall," ATA chief economist Bob Costello said.
"At 3.9 percent year-over-year growth, the first quarter increase was the best since the final quarter 2011. Expect freight tonnage will slow in the months ahead as the federal government sequester continues and households finish spending their tax returns," he added.
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