Last year saw 3,065 carriers of at least five trucks go out of business, according to Avondale Partners, a financial group that does a widely reported count of fleet closures. That’s 766 per quarter.
So the bright spot? That only 375 carriers bit the dust in the fourth quarter, notes Economist Bob Costello in his Jan. 9 report for the American Trucking Associations. As he notes, the crazy drop in diesel prices might have saved lots of these operations.
Given that freight still looks anemic for the near future, “failures could begin to accelerate again this year,” Costello says.
That wouldn’t bode well for owner-operators and company drivers, who currently are not such hot stuff in the job market. A U.S. Dept. of Labor chart Costello cites shows for-hire trucking hiring as negative during eight of the last nine months of 2008.