A confident public and stronger freight

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Two bits of news breaking Wednesday offered some encouragement that the economy, and trucking with it, will continue rebounding in the near future.

One was the fourth-quarter earnings report from Landstar System, the nation’s largest owner-operator fleet. While revenue and profits were down for the quarter, things are looking up, says Chairman, President and CEO Henry Gerkens: 

“As we moved through the 2009 fourth quarter, both the number of loads and rate per load continued to show signs of strengthening.  Through the first several weeks of January, I have seen daily volume increases of approximately 5 to 10 percent compared to January 2009, while rate per load continues to show improvement.  Assuming these trends continue for the balance of the quarter, I would anticipate 2010 first quarter revenue to increase over the 2009 first quarter revenue in a mid- to upper single digit range.” 

Here’s Landstar’s full report.

The other item was the report that consumer confidence rose for the third consecutive month.

“Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions was, on the whole, more positive than last month,” sys the Conference Board, the group that tracks this indicator.  Yet, says the board’s Lynn Franco, “Consumers’ short-term outlook, while moderately more positive, does not suggest any significant pickup in activity in the coming months. Regarding their financial situation, while consumers were less dire about their income prospects than in December, the number of pessimists continues to outnumber the optimists.”