Economists Paint Rosy Forecast for Trucking

- Economists for trade associations representing manufacturing, construction and retail industries said at the ATA Economic Summit, held Sept. 5-6, that they expect growth to continue for the remainder of 2018, with little chance of a downturn over the next year or so despite the threat of increasing trade tensions, rising interest rates and higher costs. For trucking, that means a continuation of strong demand for freight hauling and a business environment marked by tight capacity and favorable rates.

Bob Costello, chief economist for American Trucking Associations, provided his own, more modest, forecast for a slowdown in growth as benefits from federal tax cuts wear off while consumer and business spending levels off. “This could be the peak,” Costello said in reference to estimates for growth in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of more than 3% in the second quarter of 2018.

Timothy Gill, chief economist for the American Iron and Steel Institute, said he expects U.S. steel production to increase 4% this year, helped by the imposition of tariffs on foreign-made steel.
Increased spending on highways and bridges could boost further demand for steel, but Gill noted that it’s still unclear how much money will be available from public and private sources to fund infrastructure projects.

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