Trucking towards a double-dip? Batter up!

I don’t know what is harder: figuring out what the economy is doing or hitting a curve ball? While I was a decent enough hitter growing up, I did not see too many breaking balls. But given all the noise about which way the economy is moving, I may be heading back to the batting cages.

By ·

I don’t know what is harder: figuring out what the economy is doing or hitting a curve ball? While I was a decent enough hitter growing up (before my eyes went bad anyhow), I did not see too many breaking balls. But given all the noise about which way the economy is moving, I may be heading back to the batting cages.

In the last week, there has been, wait for it, more mixed news on the economic front. Here are a few examples:
-the ISM Manufacturing Report on Business in May dropped below 60 for the first time all year (anything over 50 indicates growth is occurring, but it did decrease 6.9 percent from April to May—a sign of sequential sluggishness;
-this week ADP reported private companies added 38,000 jobs in May, down from estimates calling for nearly 180,000 new jobs;
-non-farm payrolls were well short in May at 54,000, according to the Department of Labor;
-diesel prices continued, with its fourth consecutive week of declines; and
-freight volumes continue to show slight signs of moderation but overall are improving and far healthier than they were two years ago.

It does not take much to be influenced by so many data points. But these are the numbers (of which there are many more) we are working with to come to conclusions.

I just realized I did not mention consumer spending. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence was 60.8 in May, down from a revised 66 in April. Gas prices were certainly a factor in this, along with the employment situation, too.

It will be interesting to see how these things play out in the coming months when looking at freight volumes. Most carriers are saying demand is formidable at the very least, yet the numbers don’t always bear this out. Reasons vary, of course, due to things like inventory management and seasonality, but that will make the weeks leading up to Peak Season (which is when this year?) somewhat telling in getting a handle on what is happening with volume and demand.

For now, we can just dig into the batter’s box and swing away when it comes to assessing the economy.


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Latest Whitepaper
Making the Case for FedEx Critical Inventory Logistics
FedEx Critical Inventory Logistics is designed to help companies streamline and drive costs out of their aftermarket service supply chains to meet customer service level agreements and grow their bottom-line revenues.
Download Today!
From the December 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued expansion of domestic and international markets. Economists, meanwhile, say shippers can expect revenue growth in transport verticals to remain in the 3%-plus range.
2018 Customs & Regulations Update:10 observations on the “digital trade transformation”
Moore on Pricing: Freight settlement and your TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2018 Rate Forecast
Join our panel of top oil and transportation analysts for an exclusive look at where rates are headed and the issues driving those rate increases over the coming year.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Building the NextGen Supply Chain: Keeping pace with the digital economy
Peerless Media’s 2017 Virtual Summit shows how creating a data-rich ecosystem can eliminate...
2017 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year: Mallinckrodt; Mastering and managing complexity
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships...

2017 Alliance Awards: Recognizing outstanding supply chain partnerships
In an era where effective supply chain collaboration is both highly valued and elusive, Logistics...
26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...