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Weekly Transportation Update: A Growing Economy Does Little For Freight Demand

Economic growth in Q4 does little to bolster freight demand.

  • Sluggish orders for durable manufactured goods were skewed upward by aircraft orders.
  • Real consumer spending falls for the second straight month as the savings rate rebounds.
  • Dry van and refrigerated spot rates have given back their holiday-period surge.
  • Rail carriers’ earnings reports share cautious outlooks.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Retail Sales Decline as Manufacturing Output Drops

Industrial and consumer indicators were quite weak in December. 

  •  Manufacturing output drops by the most in nearly two years. 
  •  Retail sales decline sharply in December after a  downward revision to November estimate. 
  •  Van segment rates again fall sharply in a typical cool-down from the holiday surge. 
  •  Intermodal and rail carload volumes rise week over week, but intermodal gains were weaker.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Falling Gas Prices Ease Consumer Spending

Consumer inflation continues cooling trend in December.

  • New orders for manufactured goods fell in November.
  • Wholesale inventories relative to sales return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Truck spot rates see typical post-holiday moderation.
  • Intermodal is weak to start 2023; coal and grain bolster rail carload.
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Weekly Transportation Update: Inflation Eases But Remains a Worry

Consumer inflation eases year over year but remains a big concern.

  • Merchant wholesaler sales, inventories edge higher.
  • Flatbed pulls down spot metrics, but rates were sluggish in all segments.
  • Intermodal volumes decline due to weakness in the west; grain bolstered rail carload traffic.
  • Potential railroad labor disruptions are pushed out to December.
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Weekly Transportation Update: GDP Rises as Goods Transport Falls

GDP rises in Q3, but the goods transport economy fades

  • New orders for core capital goods see largest decrease since May 2021.
  • Sales of new homes fall in September after August’s surprising increase.
  • The trucking spot market sees volume growth, mostly stable rates in the latest week.
  • Railroad labor issues return to the spotlight.
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Weekly Transportation Update: September Strong for Production and Manufacturing

Industrial production and manufacturing output see gains in September.

  • Housing starts fall but remain above 2019 levels.
  • Diesel prices continue to rise as distillate inventories are still very low.
  • Truck spot metrics generally move seasonally while West Coast volume is lowest since May 2020.
  • Intermodal volumes hold steady as harvest drives up rail carload volume.
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Weekly Transportation Update: New Home Sales Surprise with a Sharp Rebound

New orders for core capital goods show solid gain in August.

  • Sales of new homes surprise with a sharp rebound.
  • Real spending on goods declines as real spending on services ticks higher.
  • CDL driver hiring activity in August was the strongest of the pandemic.
  • Intermodal shows no volume improvement in week following rail strike scare.
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Weekly Transportation Update: Production Dips Due to Weaker Utilities Output

Housing starts rise as multi-family construction hits an all-time high.

  • Sales of existing homes fall for the seventh straight month.
  • Industrial production dips due to weaker utilities output.
  • Worries about a possible rail strike failed to bolster the trucking spot market.
  • Uncertainty over the averted rail strike shows up mostly in weaker intermodal volume.
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Weekly Transportation Update: Falling Fuel Prices Hit Wholesalers Hard

  • Falling fuel prices hit merchant wholesaler sales in July.
  • Diesel prices ease while crude sinks to its lowest price since January.
  • Mortgage rates rise to the highest level since November 2008.
  • Spot rates rise in key trucking segments heading into the Labor Day holiday.
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Morning Coffee: Stocks Week Ends on Down Note

U.S. stocks closed out the trading week on a down note on Friday, as earlier gains that showed a jobs report suggested that the tight labor market may loosen.
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