Friday’s bad report on the fourth quarter’s Gross Domestic Product bodes ill for those who want to make a living moving freight in the coming months.
The economy contracted 3.8 percent in the final three months of 2008, according to the Commerce Department. But strip out production that merely inflated inventories, and the economy would have contracted 5.1 percent. Even with companies lopping off production like dead limbs, it wasn’t fast enough to compensate for worried consumers shutting their wallets.
In its report on the new GDP data, Fortune magazine notes: “By way of comparison, during the historically severe and long recession of 1981-82, consumption contracted in only a single quarter by a more moderate 3%. In the 1990-91 recession, spending fell by 2.8% and 1.7% in two consecutive quarters, while there was no single-quarter drop during the 2001 recession.”