Trans4Cast: Continued Strength in Economic Data

Continued Strength in Economic Data

Anyone in the business of forecasting, supply chain management, trucking or logistics have been wondering when we were going to see a peak to this mountain of positive economic data we’ve been seeing dating back to late 2017. We’re experiencing capacity constraints like never before and the Market Demand Index continues to push levels that would indicate we won’t be seeing ‘balance’ in the market anytime soon.


Although we’ve seen sustained momentum in the economic indicators for the United States dating back to 2017, we’re starting to hear the experts talk about when we will hit the proverbial ceiling. On Thursday, we received another data point that would indicate that 2018 will continue to show strength in the numbers that matter to us in the trucking industry with the Conference Board Leading Economic Index.


The Leading Economic Index provides a snap shot of ten weighted economic indicators ranging from unemployment information, Manufacturer’s New Orders, housing starts, consumer sentiment, and interest rate information.


For the month of March, we saw positive contribution from the interest rate spread, the ISM new orders index, average consumer expectation for business conditions, building permits, the Leading Credit Index, and manufacturer’s new orders for consumer goods and materials. The negative contribution came from a small decrease in average weekly manufacturing hours, average weekly claims for unemployment insurance, manufacturers’ new orders for non-defense capital goods, and stock prices holding steady for the month despite the recent volatility.


Although the increase in March was only .3 and was the lowest increase of the previous six months, it’s telling that the positive contributors came in the form of indicators that will keep us busy in the transportation business. New orders for both manufacturing and for consumer goods as well as new building permits should clue us in on the fact that all of these companies who are producing these goods will need to get their products into their customers hands in the near future and most likely will keep us busy for a good portion of 2018.


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