In 2010, the U.S. and the trucking industry began a recovery from the Great Recession that lasted a decade. In 2020, we tried to do it all in 10 months. In this analysis, we compare the trucking industry today to the industry in 2010.
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For the past couple of years in February, we have looked at a snapshot of trucking fleet capacity in the latest year relative to some logical prior comparison period. Unfortunately, the underlying data does not capture near-term changes well, so comparing 2020 to 2019, for example, is not really meaningful. (For a full discussion of the data used for the following analysis, see page 5 of the PDF.)
Instead, this time we are going way back to compare 2020 with 2010. In 2010, the U.S. economy and the trucking industry were just beginning to recover from the Great Recession. Indeed, payroll employment in for-hire trucking bottomed out in March that year. Later that year, the U.S. economy began an expansion that didn’t end until it came to a screeching halt a year ago. As we have mostly recovered what we have lost in the past year, comparing 2020 and 2010 helps us see how things changed during the 2010s.