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Perspectives on the U.S. and Global Recovery

The U.S. economy had a very strong second quarter, with real GDP rising at an annualized 6,5% rate. Prospects for the third quarter were projected to come in just slightly below the second quarter pace, but the rise of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has caused some downward projections to emerge in the weeks since Q3 started. In early September, we learned that the impact of the Delta variant was substantial.

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The global economy: prospects and challenges

We are past the halfway point in 2021 and it is apparent that a recovery is well underway for the global economy. Despite the burst in economic activity, it is still too early to call it a post-COVID era, as infections remain at high levels in some places and variants are still forcing authorities to place restrictions on key areas across the globe. Still, it is a full-fledged economic recovery, and the World Bank projects it will be the most robust in 80 years.

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Transportation Update | June 2021

Headlines

Rebound in auto output key to May’s strength in industrial production and manufacturing output.
• Retail sales fade slightly in May after two stimulus-fueled months of record spending.
• Housing starts stabilize with a small gain after three months of volatile activity.
• General freight truckload Producer Price Index posts its strongest gain ever in May.
• Rail carload rebounds to pre-holiday volume but intermodal still lags.

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Changes are coming to the U.S. economy: Things to watch for in coming months

The latest Federal Reserve Beige Book noted that economic activity increased from early April to late May as vaccinated consumers returned to normal activities and businesses dropped pandemic restrictions. Economic activity is picking up as vaccinations are increasing and restrictions are being relaxed. Firms benefited from an $800 billion assistance for small businesses and owners are yearning for a return to a “normal” economy. Along the way, Major League Baseball is slated to return to full capacity and the largest state economy, California, will shed its final COVID-era restrictions on June 15 and give bars, restaurants, and other businesses a green light on the road back to “normal”. Despite a strong advance, the recovery is not without problems. Despite still having large numbers of unemployed people, labor shortages persist in the United States. Supply chain shortages are rampant across the manufacturing sector and inflation is emerging as a threat to future growth. This article will attempt to shed some light on future economic developments and to show that the economic transformation that we are seeing now will hopefully develop into a self-sustaining economic recovery.

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Transportation Update | May 2021

Headlines

• U.S. economy sees a disappointingly small gain of 266,000 jobs in April. 
• ISM manufacturing index pulls back a bit on production, employment challenges.
• April soars past March’s record in grants of operating authority for new trucking firms.
• Truck spot market sets volume and rate records.
• Intermodal and rail carload volumes were little changed in the latest week.


Exclusive analysis from our SOF INSIGHTS publication - available to premium subscriber clients. Learn about subscribing to our monthly Trucking Update or Shippers Update intelligence services.


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