Gauges – April 2009
Truck orders rise
Class 8 total net orders for all major North American truck makers totaled 8,594 units in March, a 26 percent increase from February, says Eric Starks, of transportation consultants FTR, based in Nashville, Ind. But he warns that the upswing may be brief: “The industry and economic environment just don’t support increased fleet equipment purchases.” Compared to a year ago, March orders were down 44 percent.
National average: $2.23
After hitting a record high of $4.76 last July and then dropping for 34 weeks, diesel rose more than 20 cents in late March and remained stable through April 13.
Independent contractors in all segments earned more net income per mile in the fourth quarter of 2008 than they did the year prior, according to Denver-based owner-operator financial services firm ATBS. Notably, flatbed drivers’ income increased by 9 cents a mile.
Freight expenditures peaked in July, when diesel soared to a record high of $4.76 per gallon. Shipments increased from January to February, following a fourth quarter drop.
Revised federal data shows the big loss in trucking jobs in early 2009 isn’t as bad as early estimates. Seasonally adjusted payroll employment for the industry dropped 1.3 percent and 1 percent in January and February, respectively, from the month before, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. While still among the largest monthly declines on record, those drops are smaller than the preliminary reports of 1.8 percent and 2.5 percent.
Rates for reefer hauls increased 2 cents from February to March, while dry van and flatbed stabilized after February’s steep drop across all segments. The monthly averages provided by Internet Truckstop include fuel surcharges.