Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!

The naughty and nice economic outlook

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
December 22, 2011

As 2011 winds down, there has been a fair amount of optimism of late when it comes to the economy.

A few quick examples of this include the November unemployment rate dropping to 8.6 percent, decent retail sales numbers overall for holiday shopping season, lower gas prices (over the past few weeks anyhow), and November housing starts reaching their highest level in 19 months.

That last one is particularly encouraging as it has been said that one new house equals 19 truckloads of freight. Now, that is a nice boost for freight volumes to be sure.

But as we know there are road blocks, too, of course. Many of which are the inverse of what was mentioned above: a need for sustained job growth, consistent consumer spending, among others.

What’s more, the Department of Commerce earlier today reported that real GDP growth in the third quarter was estimated to have grown at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, following 1.3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter.

Despite the recent positive growth signs, that is a hard figure to overlook, as it is such a significant benchmark.

The economic issues we face are nothing new; we have been dealing with them head-on for literally years at this point. There have been countless times when I have written or been told we need to “wait until the second half of the year” or “next quarter” or something to that effect to gauge what the economy is doing. You can only do this for so long before you come to the conclusion that we are still in the weeds for a long while more.

What’s more, we are coming up on an election year, which typically is not viewed as a great platform for economic growth.

But, hey, the holidays are here and I certainly don’t want to be a Grinch writing about negative economic news for this entire post.

During the second half of this year, at pretty much every event I attended, the most carriers and 3PLs could not have been more optimistic about business conditions and demand. That was encouraging and bodes well, hopefully, for a strong 2012.

It is clear there is a long ways to get back to where we need to be, but at least things are trending in the right direction. Hey, we sure were not thinking that way at the end of 2009!

Here is to hoping for better days ahead. Happy Holidays from Newsroom Notes!

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

As was the case a month ago, the Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates is calling for annual import cargo volume gains at United States ports, as retailers gear up for the holiday season.

More than nine months after saying it was not for sale, Long Beach Calif.-based non asset-based third-party logistics (3PL) services provider UTi Worldwide has apparently changed its tune, with the company saying it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Denmark-based global 3PL DSV for $1.35 billion and $7.10 per share.

September carloads—at 1,417,750—were down 4.9 percent—or 72,597 carloads— annually, and intermodal—at 1,365,980 trailers and containers—was up 1.2 percent—or 16,272 trailers and containers.

Slowing global trade and a bloated orderbook of large vessel capacity mean that container shipping is set for another three years of overcapacity and financial pain, according to the latest Container Forecaster report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry.

The NRF is calling for 2015 holiday sales to see a 3.7 percent annual gain to $630.5 billion, which comfortably outpaces the ten-year average of 2.5 percent.


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA