February 10, 2020

Freight sector on track to continue expansion through five-year horizon

ACT report finds U.S. economic expansion has surpassed previous record by eight months and counting.

By DC Velocity Staff

The ongoing U.S. economic expansion is the longest on record and shows no signs of slowing down, according to a freight sector report by ACT Research Co.

The current expansion has now surpassed the previous cycle record (1992-2001) by eight months and counting. "And with solid consumer fundamentals, no obvious imbalances, and already having weathered the manufacturing downturn to date, it is harder to see a recession now than it was six months ago," the Columbus, Ind.-based analyst and forecasting firm said today.

That assessment comes from the firm's latest "North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook," a report designed to forecast the future of the industry, looking at the next one to five years, with the objective of giving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers, and investment firms the information needed to plan accordingly. The report covers market conditions for medium and heavy-duty trucks/tractors and trailers, the macroeconomies of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, publicly-traded carrier information, oil and fuel price impacts, freight and intermodal considerations, and regulatory environment impacts.

"Starting with the caveat [warning about] 'exogenous events,' our outlook calls for an uninterrupted economic expansion through the five-year forecast horizon," Kenny Vieth, ACT's president and senior analyst, said in a release. "While the economic cycle is presently at a low ebb, signs of any step-downs from here are moderating. While there are data points that remain negative—industrial production was still contracting as recently as December—others are suggesting the bottom is passing."¬†

ACT found that "freight-generating sectors of the economy [are] starting to mend" as the current freight cycle is poised to rebound from its trough, indicated by statistics showing the country's freight slump is in the sixth quarter of what is typically an eight-quarter process, Vieth said.

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