‘Flatbed is particularly strong’ and other upbeat news

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Lots of good economic reports all around for trucking in the last few days. If you’re not with a carrier who’s keeping you busy, figure out why or look elsewhere.

Morgan Stanley’s truckload freight research report “continues to show strong trends … Flatbed is particularly strong.” Consequently, by the fourth quarter this year, on an annual basis, “rate increases of 4-5% should now be the base case. If fuel prices spike and a material restocking takes place, it’s hard to argue that pricing couldn’t be even stronger.”

The nation’s gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annualized rate during the first quarter, notes Tavio Headley, an economist with the American Trucking Associations, in ATA’s weekly report Friday. Not as good as the 5.6 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2009, but still good news.

Headley adds that “personal consumption, which is more than two-thirds of total GDP, surged 3.6 percent in the first quarter of the year, marking the fastest quarterly growth rate since the first quarter of 2007. We now expect the economy to grow about 3.5 percent for all of 2010, led by strong gains in exports and business equipment spending.”

Finally, further support on more recent activity in this morning’s report from the Institute for Supply Management: “Economic activity in the manufacturing sector  expanded in April for the ninth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 12th consecutive month.”

None of the survey’s manufacturing sectors reported a contraction. The top five reporting growth were, in order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Plastics & Rubber Products.