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Employers add solid 196,000 jobs in March, but trucking loses 1,200

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The figures suggest that February’s meager job growth, which was revised to 33,000 from an initial 20,000, was a temporary blip and that businesses are confident the economy remains on a firm footing. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — Hiring rebounded in March as U.S. employers added a solid 196,000 jobs, up sharply from February’s scant gain and evidence that many businesses still want to hire despite signs the economy is slowing.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate stayed at 3.8 percent, near the lowest level in almost 50 years. Wage growth slowed a bit, as average hourly pay increased 3.2 percent from a year earlier. That is down from February’s gain of 3.4 percent, which was the best in a decade.

The figures suggest that February’s meager job growth, which was revised to 33,000 from an initial 20,000, was a temporary blip and that businesses are confident the economy remains on a firm footing. Still, the U.S. faces several challenges, including cautious consumers, slower growth in business investment, and a U.S.-China trade war that is contributing to slower growth overseas.

For-hire trucking lost 1,200 jobs in March after gaining a meager 100 in February.

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ATA truck tonnage index declines 6.1% in May

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ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.1% in May after jumping 7% in April. In May, the index equaled 114 (2015=100) compared with 121.4 in April. “As expected, tonnage corrected in May from the surprising surge in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. The good news is if you ignore recent highs and lows, tonnage appears to be leveling off, albeit at a high level.” April’s reading was revised down compared with our May press release. Compared with May 2018, the SA index increased 0.9%, the smallest year-over-year gain since April 2017. The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.1 in May, 1.5% above April level (117.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the drop in the tonnage index shows the economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 6.1% in May after jumping 7% in April. In May, the index equaled 114 (2015=100) compared with 121.4 in April.

“As expected, tonnage corrected in May from the surprising surge in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals. The good news is if you ignore recent highs and lows, tonnage appears to be leveling off, albeit at a high level.”

April’s reading was revised down compared with our May press release.

Compared with May 2018, the SA index increased 0.9%, the smallest year-over-year gain since April 2017.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.1 in May, 1.5% above April level (117.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

 

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the drop in the tonnage index shows the economy is still growing, but the recent volatility in truck tonnage fits with a broader economy that is showing more mixed signals.

Used truck volumes fall 14% month-over-month in May

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ACT Vice President Steve Tam said in the context of lower unit sales and rising inventory levels, the slowing price appreciation is a strong indication that demand for used trucks in waning. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Preliminary used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) fell 14% month-over-month in May, the second consecutive sequential drop, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research. Additionally, the report indicated that longer-term comparisons yielded a 22% decline compared to May 2018, as well as a year-to-date drop of 16%.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included year-over-year comparisons for May 2019, which showed that average prices rose 5%, while average miles shed 1%, and average age increased 7%.

“A spring slowdown is not uncommon, and sales generally increase a bit in the summer, but with the headwinds in the freight market, that is unlikely,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “Those who watch the industry closely have been expecting the strong pricing environment to soften this year, and based on preliminary May data, it appears as though that transition may have started.”

Tam said in the context of lower unit sales and rising inventory levels, the slowing price appreciation is a strong indication that demand for used trucks in waning. Given a similar story in the freight market, the development makes sense.

ACT’s Classes 3-8 Used Truck Report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs – Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo).

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

For more information about ACT’s Used Truck reports, visit .

 

 

T.J. O’Connor named chief operating officer of YRC Worldwide

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YRC Worldwide is the holding company for a portfolio of less-than-truckload (LTL) companies including Holland, New Penn, Reddaway and YRC Freight, as well as the logistics company HNRY Logistics. (Courtesy: YRC WORLDWIDE)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — YRC Worldwide has promoted T.J. O’Connor to chief operating officer effective immediately. O’Connor will report to YRC Worldwide Chief Executive Officer Darren Hawkins and will continue to serve as president of YRC Freight.

“T.J. has a strong track record of delivering operational results throughout his career at Roadway Express, Reddaway and YRC Freight,” Hawkins said. “With our network optimization initiative, combined with the recently ratified five-year labor agreement that offers new operational flexibilities, this is the time to bring T.J. into the role of COO. His new position will help us drive performance objectives through enterprise-wide process improvement and accountability initiatives at all of our coast-to-coast terminal locations.”

T.J. O’CONNOR

“This is a great opportunity to lead our terminal-based field teams as we collectively focus on service improvements and achieving operational efficiencies while operating with the highest degree of safety,” O’Connor said. “Throughout my three-and-a-half-decade career in the less-than-truckload industry, I have worked closely with many of our field employees. I’ve seen their dedication and commitment firsthand. I look forward to working with the Holland, New Penn, Reddaway and YRC Freight teams in this new role.”

The YRC Worldwide COO position recently held by Darren Hawkins has been vacant since Hawkins was named CEO of YRC Worldwide in April 2018. As referenced during the YRC Worldwide May 8, 2019, first quarter earnings call, Scott Ware was named chief network officer of YRC Worldwide. Ware leads the YRC Worldwide network solutions, linehaul and property teams.

T.J. O’Connor has over three-and-a-half decades of experience in the transportation industry. His career in transportation began at Roadway Express. O’Connor assumed positions of increasing responsibility at Roadway Express, ultimately being named Western Division vice president. O’Connor went on to be named president of Bestway Express and then president of Reddaway. He became president of YRC Freight in January 2018.

O’Connor supports advancements in the transportation industry by serving on the board of directors of SMC3, a provider of data, technology and education as an integrated solution to the freight transportation community. He also provides leadership via community service. He has served as a member of The Robert W. Franz Leadership Cabinet of the Providence Cancer Center, a world-recognized organization engaged in the fight against cancer. O’Connor has served in various committee leadership roles for the California Trucking Association, Oregon Trucking Associations and the American Trucking Associations.

 

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