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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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Weekly Transportation Update: Housing Starts Ease After Strong February

Housing starts and home sales soften after strong February.

  • Seasonally adjusted continued claims for unemployment benefits were highest since November 2021.
  • Streak of diesel price decreases ends at 10 weeks as the Midwest fuels higher national average.
  • Dry van and refrigerated spot rates fall by the most in a week since January.
  • Rail volumes recover in the latest week after an Easter-induced decline.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Inflation Cools While Job Growth Impresses

Manufacturing output and retail sales fall while inflation cools.

  • The economy posts solid job growth in March as trucking employment looks   stronger.
  • EPA proposal would require major shift to zero-emission vehicles by model year 2032.
  • Truck spot market metrics soften in line with seasonal expectations.
  • Mexico factors into recent weakness in intermodal and rail carload volumes.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Job Openings Fall For Second Straight Month

Job openings dip below 10 million for the first time since May 2021.

  • The ISM manufacturing index weakens to lowest level since May 2020.
  • Trucking company new entry and carrier failures were basically in balance in March.
  • Spot rates in dry van and refrigerated decline in line with seasonal expectations.
  • Intermodal and rail carload volumes were generally stable in the latest week.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Industrial Production Weaker As Automotive Drives Retail Inventory Growth

Annual data revision shows modestly weaker industrial production.

  • Real consumer spending eased slightly in February.
  • The automotive industry drove retail inventory growth in the latest month.
  • EPA grants waivers to California for heavy-duty vehicle and engine emissions standards.
  • Intermodal volume continues to be weak, but rail carload recovered to the prior trend.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Existing Home Sales Trend Upward After Long Fall

Sales of existing homes surge in February after a year of decline. 

  • Durable manufactured goods orders hold steady excluding transportation equipment.
  • Knight-Swift to buy U.S. Xpress, establishing a truckload fleet of about 25,000 tractors.
  • The spot market for truck freight sees a largely status quo week.
  • Intermodal volumes remain weak as saber-rattling begins at west coast ports.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Lean Retail Inventories Reduce Prospects for Correction

Manufacturing output and retail sales were lackluster in February. 

  • Retail inventories were leaner in January, reducing prospects for a stronger correction.
  • Housing starts and permits see solid increases in February.
  • Van segments’ spot rates reverse their gains from the prior week.
  • STB approves Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger.

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Weekly Transportation Update: U.S. Jobs Rise Overall While Trucking Jobs Drop

U.S. economy adds 311,000 payroll jobs in February. 

  • Job openings decline in January from an upward revision of prior data. 
  • Trucking loses the most payroll jobs in a month since April 2020. 
  • Van segments posted their strongest spot rate gains of the year. 
  • Intermodal volumes are still sluggish, but coal spurs volume gains in rail carload.

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