Economy Watch

Chicago business
A broad measure of business activity for the Chicago are plunged in February with much of the blame being laid at the door of the West Coast port labor standoff.

Truckload rates rose 7.9 percent from a year ago in January, gaining on December, while intermodal pricing dropped for the first time since 2013, Cass Information Systems said.

Increase shows momentum of U.S. economic recovery keeping pace, as American Trucking Associations tonnage index rises to highest level on record.

Don't be fooled by a seasonal drop in net trailer orders in January — a stronger economy and changing equipment strategies are contributing to a "vibrant" trailer market in the U.S., as FTR sales data show.

Transportation company spending on equipment helped boost an equipment financing index to three-year high in February despite lower equipment spending in the energy field.

The five largest U.S. border crossings by truck increased truck volume 4 percent in 2014, with Laredo, the largest truck crossing point, processing 5.5 percent more trucks than in 2014.

Ambassador Bridge
The U.S. and Canada cleared a big hurdle to building a second span over the Detroit River, a critical crossing and sometime choke-point for cross-border trade.

The publicly owned trucking companies tracked by JOC.com finished 2014 with $41.5 billion in combined revenue, a 10.9 percent improvement over 2013 attributed to growing industrial output, imports, exports and consumer confidence.

In an encouraging sign for the still-struggling Japanese economy, the nation’s exports got off to a powerful start this year, with shipments to the U.S. and some other major trading partners in January rising at a double-digit pace compared to the prior year.

India’s merchandise exports tumbled 11.2 percent year-over-year in January, the lowest level since July 2012, but a steeper decline in imports helped pull the country’s monthly trade imbalance with the rest of the world down to an 11-month low, according to provisional trade data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.