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Weekly Transportation Update: Manufacturing holds steady aside from inevitable automotive drop

Stagnant economic indicators continue as key measures bare move.

  • Retail and food service sales net out to little movement during October.
  • Housing starts rise slightly after downward revision to September’s gain.
  • Spot rates in trucking continue to track with seasonal expectations.
  • Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin Oberman will not seek renomination
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Weekly Transportation Update: Wholesale inventories were leaner in September

The economic indicators were significantly leaner in September.

  • Goods exports and imports rose in September.
  • Diesel prices fall sharply for a second week, and crude prices drop.
  • Refrigerated bolsters trucking spot rates in the latest week.
  • Rail carload, intermodal volumes ease in the latest week
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Weekly Transportation Update: Economic growth and the freight economy were robust in Q3


A week of surprising data indicates a stronger economy than maybe expected.

  • Real consumer spending rises 0.4% in September.
  • Sales of new homes rise sharply in September.
  • Spot rates fall again for the third straight week.
  • Intermodal volume edges higher as rail carload shows stability.
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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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