Economy Watch

Economy Watch

Economy news, data, and analysis with a focus on how changing economic trends can impact the shipping and transportation industries. Our focus on world economy news looks at economic growth and challenges around the world from the United States and China to the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Commentary

The wind is at the intermodal sector’s back in the North American markets, but there is one headwind that, and as of now, the scope and ultimate impact is unknown. 

News & Analysis

22 Jun 2022
Despite softening spot rates in some modes, overall supply chain costs are rising, with higher interest rates putting more pressure on inventories, according to the CSCMP State of Logistics report.
16 Jun 2022
The White House says US shipping reform will help corral inflation by easing port congestion and more closely monitoring ocean carriers, claims disputed by OSRA-22 opponents.
10 Jun 2022
President Joe Biden visited the Port of Los Angeles to take ocean carriers to task while stumping for final Congressional approval of major US shipping law reform.
20 May 2022
For some US retailers, inventories are too high, but others are steadily building stockpiles to mitigate supply chain risks ahead of the year-end holidays, keeping freight demand high.
18 May 2022
Increases in industrial production and retail sales in April suggest continuing strength in overall freight demand, despite tumbling truckload spot rates.
26 Apr 2022
Disruption from COVID lockdowns in China may worsen once those restrictions are lifted and a fresh wave of containers heads for US ports, S&P Global economist Patrick Newport warned Tuesday.
10 Feb 2022
Visibility software company FourKites is tracking a drop in cargo volumes and on-time performance in northbound shipments as protesting Canadian truck drivers bring more disruption to the US-Canadian border.
04 Feb 2022
A multiregional storm is hitting US supply chains already stressed by labor and warehousing shortages and high freight volumes, putting more long-term pressure on transportation costs.
02 Feb 2022
A trucker blockade at a small US-Canada border crossing will bring big cost increases for cross-border shippers, as US carriers begin to embargo or reroute freight hundreds of miles.
26 Jan 2022
Proactive steps taken by US and Canadian motor carriers and shippers ahead of vaccine mandates for truck drivers are keeping cross-border freight flowing despite earlier fears of disruption and delays.
13 Jan 2022
Shippers “will have to be innovative” to avoid delays caused by COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truck drivers crossing the US-Canadian border.
10 Dec 2021
Outbound truck spot rates to Chicago from US ports and border entry points are surging, with the biggest increases in eastbound lanes off the West Coast.
09 Dec 2021
IHS Markit expects US GDP to expand 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter, based on a $130 billion jump in inventory investment in October that represents goods “pulled forward” from 2022.
07 Dec 2021
The for-hire trucking industry lost jobs in November, as it typically does, but fewer than anticipated as couriers and warehouses grabbed the most new employees amid strong pre-holiday demand.
28 Oct 2021
Truckload pricing will continue to rise into 2022, with the “deflationary leg” of the market starting in the second quarter next year, Coyote Logistics said in its latest Coyote Curve forecast.
25 Oct 2021
Retail inventories are rising but remain 9.2 percent below the pre-pandemic high point in terms of value, and shippers are trying every possible strategy to avoid stockouts.
13 Oct 2021
A reallocation of assets and workers across the transportation landscape, combined with inventory rebuilding, complicates the outlook for US shippers in 2022, speakers told the JOC Inland Distribution webcast.
08 Oct 2021
The for-hire trucking industry lost 1,600 jobs last month, but the Labor Department expected a bigger drop, as transit, warehousing and courier employment surged.
21 Sep 2021
Demand fueled tonnage growth at for-hire contract carriers in August, according to the American Trucking Associations, but supply chain disruption and shortages still constrain overall capacity.
03 Sep 2021
The impact of Hurricane Ida pushed already high truckload spot prices even higher this week, digital brokers say, as capacity becomes more dislocated at the start of trucking’s peak season.
03 Sep 2021
A stronger than expected round of hiring in August brought transportation and warehousing payrolls back to pre-pandemic levels, but new employees aren’t distributed evenly.
12 Aug 2021
Forget the fall, the peak US truck shipping season is under way now, trucking analysts say, with spot truckload rates elevated and contract rates still climbing.
23 Jun 2021
A lack of truck drivers and equipment, not a cooler economy, is behind a recent drop in for-hire trucking tonnage and spot market volume, as demand overshoots supply chain capacity.
03 Jun 2021
Double-digit year-over-year increases in volume and revenue at Old Dominion Freight Line set a benchmark for US economic and LTL sector growth since the worst point of the recession.
11 Mar 2021
US freight demand is “through the roof” after supply chains broke down during February’s winter storms, trucking companies say. More freight may be shifting from spot markets to contractual partners as networks are restored.
05 Mar 2021
The transportation and warehousing sector lost fewer jobs than anticipated in February, but trucking companies saw deeper than expected job losses in a storm-wracked month.
01 Mar 2021
Backups at US ports will diminish gradually over several months only as COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and infection rates slow, IHS Markit’s chief economist told JOC’s virtual TPM21.
06 Jan 2021
The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the US is being slowed not by transportation issues, but by “last-mile” inefficiencies in many states, especially a lack of personnel, funding, and necessary planning.
06 Nov 2020
The number of new operating authorities issued to US trucking companies is surging alongside imports, but that doesn’t necessarily mean truckload capacity is increasing.
05 Oct 2020
A substantial increase in heavy truck orders in September begs the question: Who will drive those trucks? Trucking employment is improving, but still down 4.7 percent year over year.
01 Oct 2020
The new rate differential tracked by DAT chief scientist Chris Caplice is rising at a faster pace, a sign that shippers will see a greater increase in truckload contract rates.
18 Sep 2020
Large truckload carriers made their deepest capacity cuts in a decade in the second quarter, the JOC Truckload Capacity Index shows; they’re not likely to restore capacity quickly.
26 Aug 2020
Truckload freight volumes are still increasing overall, but not at the frenetic pace of July, supply chain visibility provider FourKites says. That's a sign supply chains are "rebalancing," though spot pricing remains elevated.
07 Aug 2020
Supply chain disruption and the spread of COVID-19 may have limited carrier ability to add drivers and other employees last month, despite heightened demand.
16 Jul 2020
The continuing surge in COVID-19 cases acts as an anchor on the economic recovery and could turn a U-shaped recovery into a W-shaped one, IHS Markit’s chief economist warns.