This c-suite synopsis of the transportation markets is provided to all of our Premium clients along with weekly transportation updates.
TRUCKING: Market conditions are still robust for carriers despite some easing.
RAILCAR: The carload outlook remains little changed from last month, but the components of that growth saw some change.
INTERMODAL: Volumes declined sequentially in July as congestion across the supply chain weighed on loadings.
SHIPPERS: Market conditions have eased, but provide little relief for shippers.
The semiconductor shortage still looms over the economy with direct and indirect effects rippling through the industrial and consumer sectors. In July, auto makers tried to catch up on lost production by reducing or eliminating traditional shutdowns. That move distorted seasonally adjusted data to the upside in industrial production, manufacturing, and durable goods orders. However, severely depleted dealer inventories surely was the key factor in vehicle sales plunging in August to their lowest level since June 2020.
• Payroll job growth in August was weaker than expected at a gain of just 235,000 jobs after a two-month surge of about 2 million. Employment remains 5.3 million jobs, or 3.5%, below February 2020.
• Consumer spending ticked up 0.3% in July as services spending rose 1.0% and goods spending fell 1.1%. A decline in auto and light truck sales was a big factor.
• Supply chain disruptions and other factors have resulted in largely stagnant freight volumes, but capacity and productivity constraints are keeping rates for shippers high in all modes.