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

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.
07 Jul 2020
A large chunk of the US trucking sector is riding on Payroll Protection Program loans, which likely averted a capacity crunch in June and may still be shielding shippers this fall.
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.