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Weekly Transportation Update: U.S. adds 353,000 payroll jobs, seasonally adjusted, in January

In January, the United States experienced significant growth in job opportunities, with data revisions revealing an even larger increase in December than initially reported. However, upon annual data revision, it became evident that employment in sectors associated with freight had weakened considerably compared to previous indications. Concurrently, there was a sharp decline in the number of active for-hire trucking companies.

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Weekly Transportation Update: The economy sees solid growth in Q4 as does the freight economy

In the final quarter of 2023, the economy continued its remarkable growth, and this positive trend extended to the freight transportation sector. However, it is important to note that the data pertaining to last week in the freight transportation industry was distorted by the severe winter weather that prevailed across the country. This weather condition led to substantial increases in truck spot rates and had a detrimental impact on rail and intermodal volumes.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Manufacturing output holds steady as automotive continues recovery

The economic indicators released this week presented a mixed picture. While retail sales showed some modest strength in December, industrial production remained stagnant. The housing market faced its own challenges, with declining housing starts and the lowest sales of existing homes since 1995. However, there was a glimmer of hope as mortgage rates dropped to their lowest level since May. Despite this positive development, the market will continue to grapple with tight inventories and high prices.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Consumer inflation ticks up in December but remains fairly cool

The principal economic data released this week showed stable pricing and inflation at the consumer and producer levels, although there were some discrepancies due to variations in gasoline and diesel prices in December. Freight transportation made headlines as the U.S. and allies targeted Houthi rebel positions in Yemen to protect commercial shipping from recent attacks.

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Weekly Transportation Update: Automotive sector rebound bolsters manufacturing output

Automotive sector rebound bolsters manufacturing output.

  • Retail sales see solid increase in November.
  • Falling fuel prices help keep consumer inflation cool.
  • Van spot rates ease in line with seasonal expectations.
  • Rail carload and intermodal begin their seasonal slide in volume.
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Weekly Transportation Update: U.S. adds 199,000 payroll jobs in November

U.S. adds 199,000 payroll jobs in November.

  • The unemployment rate falls to 3.7%; labor participation improves slightly.
  • Job openings in October were lowest since March 2021.
  • Dry van spot rates rise strongly for the second straight week.
  • Rail and intermodal volumes post strong gains following Thanksgiving.
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Weekly Transportation Update: Retail inventories aside from automotive are extraordinarily lean.

Retail inventories aside from automotive are extraordinarily lean.

  • Factory orders for durable goods hold steady aside from transportation equipment.
  • Trucking company failures in November were in line with October.
  • Dry van spot rates finally show some measure of seasonal strength.
  • Rail carload and intermodal volumes were down as expected during the holiday week.
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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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