Winter trucking report shows slow economic recovery

Jason Cannon January 31, 2013

The Winter Trucking Report released from TAB Bank is showing signs of a slow and steady economic recovery according to monthly truck tonnage, fuel costs, perceived business conditions and invoice size. TAB Bank’s Winter Trucking Report released Thursday says the economy is showing signs of a slow and steady economic recovery based on monthly truck tonnage, fuel costs, perceived business conditions and invoice size.

Historically, trends in trucking and transportation serve as good indicators of the greater economy.

“We continue to see a mixed bag of industry indicators as the economic recovery continues to unfold within the trucking industry and the economy at large,” says Eric Myers, Vice President of Marketing for TAB Bank, which has assets in the trucking industry. 

For example, diesel prices ended the year at their lowest point in months and the Industrial Production Index continues to show steady increases with a 1.0 percent annual increase during the last three months of the year. 

“Our core group of clients posted their strongest sales in October in the past 12 months but that was followed with significant decreases in activity for the months of November and December,” Myers adds. “The trucking industry is and will continue to be a great barometer for overall economic growth.”

As the trucking industry experiences growth, the overall economy can expect to follow suit, Myers says.

“The economy has rebounded since the statistical low points of 2008 and 2009 but the recovery continues to develop at a slow, but still steady rate,” he adds. 

TAB Bank Winter Trucking Report Highlights

  • Diesel prices are at their lowest point since August with a nationwide average of $3.911
  • Sales volume for TAB’s core group of clients reached its highest point of 2012 in October but has since decreased significantly in the months of November and December as the post-holiday shipping season settles in
  • For fourth quarter of 2012, total industrial production moved up at an annual rate of 1 percent
  • Average invoice size for TAB’s core group of clients retreated below $1,000 for the first time since September as carriers adjust the fuel surcharge portion of the invoice to account for decreasing diesel prices
  • Collections of unpaid invoices for TAB’s core group of clients reached their lowest point of 2012 in October at 27.47 days but have steadily grown once more to end the year at 30.69 days

Economic news for some of the country’s largest freight haulers could hardly have been better this week.

Knight Transportation reported numbers for 2012 were comparable to 2011′s, but did cite an 8.1 percent increase in total revenue, bringing in $936 million in the year, up from $866.2 million in 2011. Its operating income grew 8.2 percent in 2012 from 2011, to $108.3 million from $100 million.

USA Truck reported an increase in revenus and both J.B. Hunt and Landstar posted record revenue numbers. 


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