Recent economic data appear to underscore that post-New Year tonnage will continue to grow along with the economy at a decelerating rate.
The U.S. leading economic indicators, which predict economic trends over the next quarter, increased 0.2% in November, said The Conference Board. This marks the first increase in the leading indicators in six months.
“It is too early conclude that the recent weakness in the leading index was only a pause in the rising trend, but to date the decline was not large enough and did not persist for long enough to signal an end to the current economic expansion,” said The Conference Board in a release. “The current behavior of the leading index is consistent with the economy continuing to expand in the near term, but more slowly than the long-term trend rate.”
In a separate report, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter was stronger than expected, after the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) revised the figure to a 4% increase, from 3.9%.
The final estimate of GDP growth reflects an acceleration of consumer spending, capital investments, and exports— factors that stimulate tonnage.
“The GDP revision was too marginal to change anyone’s outlook for the economy,” Chris Brady, president of Commercial Motor Vehicle Consulting told Fleet Owner. “However, the upturn [in the leading indicator] signals that the economy does not appear to be going into any downturn mode.”
Retail sales in November grew slightly, which may herald a solid finish for December.
With approximately a fourth of all fiscal retail sales traditionally rung up during the holiday shopping season, the last week of December is significant as last-minute shoppers could make or break retail sales expectations. The results of the holiday shopping season will be posted through January, Brady added.