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

18 Jun 2020
Payroll Protection Program loans could keep struggling small trucking companies in business, and prevent a truck capacity crunch shippers fear — if enough carriers apply for them.
16 Jun 2020
This month’s seasonal burst of truck freight shipping is expected to fade after Independence Day, putting more pressure on small trucking operators struggling to stay on the road.
09 Jun 2020
Mexico’s exports in April dropped 41 percent year over year, the biggest one-month drop since the country’s 1986 fiscal crisis.
08 Jun 2020
Economists with American Trucking Associations believe the US economy will contract this year at the highest rate since 1946, and that although numbers will look much better in the second half of 2020, it will be another 12 months until markets return to pre-COVID pandemic levels.
04 Jun 2020
Lower fuel prices are helping small trucking businesses survive the worst economy since the 1930s, according to Donald Broughton, which means shippers may find more truck capacity and less pricing pressure than expected this fall.
03 Jun 2020
Shipments were down year over year in May at less-than-truckload carriers ODFL and Saia, but not by as much as in April, a sign the US industrial economy is beginning to improve.
20 May 2020
The JOC Truckload Capacity Index indicates large US carriers are making deeper cuts in their fleets after an unprecedented 10-quarter expansion in available capacity.
12 May 2020
YRC Worldwide says a double-digit drop in freight volume will accelerate efforts to consolidate its less-than-truckload networks while keeping its individual carrier brands.
08 May 2020
The recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has erased years of trucking employment gains, bringing payroll headcounts below 2006 levels, US data shows.
27 Apr 2020
Trucking companies large and small are focused on getting through the next month or two, after which they hope freight volumes will begin to recover. But that recovery may be a long one.
20 Mar 2020
Spot truck rates are up about 5 percent since the end of February on demand for consumer staples, even as the US economy slows. Pricing may still be elevated when Chinese imports hit US ports and produce season puts the screws to US trucking capacity.
19 Mar 2020
The 10-year US economic expansion is over, killed by the response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019), and the recovery will be slow, IHS Markit chief economist Nariman Behravesh warns.
18 Feb 2020
Truckload carrier Alabama Motor Express sees opportunities to grow by purchasing smaller carriers hit by rising truck insurance premiums.
10 Feb 2020
The third-largest US LTL operator commits to ongoing reorganization, and sees glimmers of recovery in US manufacturing activity and freight demand in early 2020.
03 Feb 2020
In a lackluster market, ArcBest’s ABF Freight finds it necessary to judiciously mix truckload spot and traditional LTL freight, asset-based, and non-asset services.
28 Jan 2020
Truck volumes have flattened, not collapsed, a trucking analyst tells SMC3’s Jumpstart 2020 Conference. Truck capacity hit its peak in Q4 2019, and is expected to contract this year.
22 Jan 2020
Indications that the US manufacturing sector is improving, rather than deteriorating, could point to more freight demand and truck shipments this spring, especially for LTL carriers.
17 Dec 2019
Year-to-date declines in metal, chemical, and forest product shipments will depress future truck volumes, creating an overhang that will affect pricing, a transportation economist says.
12 Dec 2019
Truckload spot rates leaped upward in the first week of December, rising 12 cents per mile above their November average according to DAT Solutions as the final holiday retail push got underway.
YRC reports double-digit drop in LTL tonnage
12 Dec 2019
A ‘freight volume headwind’ blew hard against YRC Worldwide in November, driving down tonnage at YRC Freight 10.2 percent year over year. December is looking better, the carrier says.
06 Dec 2019
IHS Markit points to a “modest upturn” in the US economy, with consumer demand keeping freight in motion.
03 Dec 2019
Cass Information Systems is partnering with the University of Tennessee to enhance its benchmark truckload and intermodal pricing indexes, and explore new data opportunities.
15 Nov 2019
The divide sharpens between those who see looming recession in freight numbers and those who see sustained, albeit slower, US growth.
21 Oct 2019
A survey of small businesses shows truckers still looking for growth ahead, despite a tough market in 2019.
15 Oct 2019
Shippers are being urged to plan carefully for 2020, as signs begin to indicate the US truck market may swing again next year.
08 Oct 2019
In his keynote address at the JOC TPM Asia Conference in Shenzhen, Cosco's Wang Haimin said US tariffs are accelerating the shift of production of furniture, tires, machinery, and footwear from China to Southeast Asia.
24 Sep 2019
Trucking is experiencing slow growth, not a collapse, ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says, with retail sales and contract business sustaining demand.
24 Sep 2019
The retail and restaurant businesses are growing and generating freight, but they’re being reshaped in ways that will challenge their transportation partners.
20 Aug 2019
One of the few positive indicators in trucking is the ATA Tonnage Index, which rose 7.3 percent in July year over year -- a signal that some don’t believe the industry is in turmoil.
24 Jul 2019
With rates and freight demand low, smaller trucking operators may be increasingly up for grabs.
16 Jul 2019
Uncertainty clouds the freight outlook beyond August, as spot truck rates cool in July after rising in June and US inventories remain high.
15 Jul 2019
Older vessels and jockeying for cargo are crimping the health of the breakbulk sector, which can be seen in recent rate data.
21 Jun 2019
Truckload carriers surveyed by Cowen & Co. are banking on a stronger second half and expect contract rates to rise 2.7 percent on average over the next six months.
20 Jun 2019
A sharp decline in shipper spending and freight volumes causes some to sound the recession alarm, but others still see slower growth, not steep decline, amid tariff threats.
04 Jun 2019
Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is calling for the expansion of the NAFTA free-trade zone throughout the Americas, as well as improvements in labor productivity at home.