ACT: K-Shaped Recovery for U.S. Economy, V-Shaped Recovery for Freight Economy



According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the U.S. economy is recovering in a K-shaped pattern, meaning some segments are enjoying a more V-shaped recovery, while others are mired on an L-shaped trajectory.

“Fortunately for freight economy, the pattern has been more V-shaped,” Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst, said. “The story for the transport sector and particularly for heavy duty trucks can be summed in two words: surprisingly strong.

Over-the-road carriers are enjoying a period of volume growth and pricing power that would have been considered shocking, though welcomed, from an April 2020 vantage point. The underpinnings for this strength include the lighter impact of COVID-19 on goods-producing sectors, which are truck intensive, as compared to the devastation still being felt by services sectors, which are not trucking intensive. In addition, the consumer spending substitution away from experiences and toward goods, pent-up demand for inventory restocking, a hot housing market, low interest rates and low energy prices are supporting freight.

“It is fair to question whether some of these trends will have legs that stretch beyond COVID and its cure or mitigation, but for now they are influential for commercial vehicle markets.”

The report, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a wide variety of sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report is designed as a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the US trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the US macro economy.

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