Economy

Index at year’s highest level

The seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.7 percent in November.

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A creeping, sputtering recovery

It appears that trucking and the economy will be slouching toward health and stability during 2010. Here are forecasts from three sources.

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Manufacturing sustains its hot streak in November

Manufacturing monitor ISM issued a good news, bad news report today, but the good outweighs the bad.    The sector expanded in November for the fourth consecutive month, says the Institute for Supply Management. The downside is that the rate of growth is less than a month ago, and less than analysts expected.    “The signs are still encouraging for continuing growth as both new orders and production are still at very positive levels,” says Norbert Ore, ...

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Truck dealers analyze a year’s anemic sales

It still appears to be a buyer’s market for Class 8 trucks, according to a report from the truck dealers’ trade group. It’s been “a year of heavy depreciation for the highway sleeper market,” says the ATD/NADA Official Commercial Truck Guide. Considering the depressed conditions, prices could have dropped even lower, says Chris Visser, editor of the guide. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that an extremely active export market helped keep the domestic supply of used trucks at ...

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Chalk it up as a decent quarter

There was a mixed bag of trucking-related economic reports Friday, though the good seems to outweigh the bad. The American Truck Dealers, citing trade press reports, notes that third-quarter earnings reports from fleets show freight volumes appear to be rising, though revenues aren’t keeping pace. Also, U.S. truck tonnage fell 7.3 percent in September from the same month last year. That’s not good news unless you consider that it was the best year-to-year monthly showing since ...

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Landstar optimistic in spite of lower earnings

Landstar System Inc., reported its share of lower revenue and income numbers in its third-quarter earnings statement, but the nation’s largest owner-operator carrier also sees a turnaround taking shape. The company earned $20 million from revenue of $501 million in the quarter that ended. Sept. 30. Comparable net income a year ago was $33 million from revenue of $733  million. The good news/bad news, from Henry Gerkens, president and CEO: “Notable 2009 third-quarter over 2008 third-quarter revenue ...

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Trucking experts expect very slow rebound

“The economy has bottomed out, but it is going to be slow going in the months ahead.” That was the consensus of speakers at this week’s annual management conference of the American Trucking Associations, in Las Vegas, says ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello in his weekly newsletter. One of those speakers, Sara Johnson of HIS Global Insight, predicts a contraction of  2.5 percent this year, followed by an increase of 2.0 percent in 2010 and then ...

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Latest report bodes well for freight

More good news for manufacturing. A month ago, Institute for Supply Management data showed that manufacturing grew in August, for the first time since January 2008. ISM reported today that September gave an encore performance. “While the rate of growth moderated slightly when compared to August, the recovery broadened as the number of industries reporting growth increased from 11 to 13,” says ISM’s Norbert J. Ore. “Both new orders and production are growing, but at a ...

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Manufacturing numbers strong for August

Lots of good news for trucking in today’s report from the Institute for Supply Management. Economic activity in manufacturing expanded in August, following 18 consecutive months of contraction, according to the nation's supply executives polled for the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The August numbers also show the overall economy grew for the fourth consecutive month. "The year-and-a-half decline in manufacturing output has come to an end, as 11 of 18 manufacturing industries are reporting growth when ...

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Small-business lending bounces back

Borrowing money isn’t the best thing for an owner-operator to do in a down economy like this. But if you must – or plan to do so as soon as the recovery becomes more evident – it’s good to know how the market is changing. Small-business lending was dead in the water last year as the credit market collapsed, but CNNMoney.com reports that it’s “managed to heal itself” without help from the federal stimulus funding. “Figuring out ...

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