WASHINGTON (AP) - The amount of goods shipped by truck in the U.S. fell by 3.6 percent in May from a year earlier amid a sluggish economy, an industry group said Wednesday.
In a monthly report, the American Trucking Associations said its seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index in May fell 1.3 percent from a month earlier.
''Most carriers indicated that volumes were soft and spotty in May, which was clearly reflected in our index,'' Bob Costello, the group's chief economist, said in a prepared statement.
In April, the year-over-year index fell by 2.7 percent, after rising by 1.6 percent in March.
Because more than two thirds of all manufactured and retail goods in the U.S. are carried by truck, the industry is considered an important economic bellwether.
The Alexandria, Va.-based trucking group said its tonnage index stood at 110.6 in May, compared with 112.1 a month earlier. The index measures the weight of freight hauled by U.S. truckers, based on surveys from its membership.
Trucking companies have seen their fuel costs surge in the past few years, though they have been able to pass most of those extra expenses through to customers.