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Weekly Transportation Update: Freight Economy Sinks as Overall Economy Grows

The U.S economy grows in Q2, but the freight economy sinks.

  • Vehicle sales drive increase in real consumer spending in June.
  • Diesel prices rise by the most since October during the latest week.
  • Spot rates fall again for all truck equipment types.
  • Rail carload and intermodal volumes hold steady in the latest week.
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Weekly Transportation Update: Historically Strong Auto Output Falls in Short-Term

Automotive output falls but remains very strong historically.

  • Retail and food service sales change little overall, but individual sectors were mixed.
  • Housing starts fall in June from May’s downwardly revised gain.
  • All truck equipment types see a decrease in spot rates from the prior week.
  • Canadian port labor uncertainty is a headwind for intermodal volume.
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Weekly Transportation Update: Core Consumer Inflation Lowest in Almost Two Years

Core consumer inflation in June was tamest since August 2021.

  • Pricing for freight transportation services fell in June, led by truckload.
  • Diesel prices rise as crude oil hits its highest price since April.
  • Van segment spot rates retreat as expected during the July 4 holiday week.
  • Intermodal and rail carload volumes are hit by the holiday and Canadian port strike.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Employment Growth Cools in June

Employment growth cools a bit as the U.S. adds 209,000 payroll jobs in June.

  • The ISM manufacturing index retreats further in June.
  • CARB and truck manufacturers strike deal on California emissions regulations.
  • Van segments see seasonal rate strength, but flatbed rates fall.
  • Intermodal volume struggles due to Canadian situation; energy is a drag on rail carload traffic.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Housing Starts Surge as Existing Homes Sales Flounder

Housing starts surge in May, but sales of existing homes were weak.

  • New claims for unemployment benefits are holding at the highest level since October 2021.
  • Truck spot rates decline during the week before the traditional seasonal run-up
  • Rail carload volumes look to hold nearly steady into the fall.
  • Intermodal volumes bounce back as port disruptions ease.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Auto and Light Truck Sales Decline But Remain Above 2022 Average

Auto sector continues to fuel higher U.S. imports from Mexico and Canada.

  • Auto and light truck sales declined in May but were still well above the 2022 average.
  • Wholesale inventories are still highly elevated relative to sales..
  • Spot volume falls during Memorial Day holiday week, but rates change little..
  • Intermodal and carload volumes fall as expected during the holiday week..

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Weekly Transportation Update: Job Openings Rise for First Time Since December

U.S. adds 339,000 payroll jobs in May as unemployment also rises sharply.

  • Job openings increase modestly in April.
  • The ISM manufacturing index eases as the new orders component falls sharply.
  • Spot rate changes are mixed during the week following International Roadcheck.
  • Intermodal volumes continue a strong Q2.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Core Capital Goods Orders Rise in April

Consumer spending on goods outpaced services in April.

  • New orders for core capital goods rose in April.
  • Sales of new single-family homes rose after downward revision of March estimate.
  • Van spot rates surged during International Roadcheck week.
  • Rail and intermodal volume largely is stuck in a status quo.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Retail Sales Hold Steady

Automotive production sets seasonally adjusted record in April.

  • Real retail sales basically hold steady after annual data revision.
  • Wholesale inventories are very high relative to sales.
  • Spot rates softened heading into this week’s almost certain increase.
  • Rail employment trends show a flattening out at most carriers.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Unemployment Hits 54-Year Low

U.S. Economy Adds 253,000 Payroll Jobs in April

  • The unemployment rate again falls to the lowest in 54 years.
  • Closely watched manufacturing indicator improves but still suggests a slowing sector.
  • Refrigerated spot rates see strongest gain of the year in the latest week.
  • Intermodal sets another volume high for 2023.

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