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U.S. employers add only 20,000 jobs in February, trucking up 900

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An applicant for a job completes her application with the help of the person in line in front of her. Although February job gains were minimal, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — Hiring tumbled in February, with U.S. employers adding just 20,000 jobs, the smallest monthly gain in nearly a year and a half.

The sharp slowdown in hiring, which might have been worsened by unseasonably cold weather, came after employers had added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January, the most in nearly a year.

For-hire trucking followed a similar pattern as that of the U.S. as a whole, adding 900 jobs in February after gaining 5,100 in January.

In the past three months, U.S. job gains have averaged a solid 186,000.

Still, the pullback comes amid signs that growth is slowing because of a weaker global economy, a trade war between the United States and China, and signs of caution among consumers.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent last month from 4 percent in January, the Labor Department said in its monthly jobs report. For For For For For For For For Businesses stepped up their competition for workers and raised average hourly pay 3.4 percent from a year earlier, the largest gain in a decade.

Slowing global growth, a trade war with China and signs of increased caution among consumers have led many economists to forecast weaker growth in the first three months of this year.

Still, most analysts expect businesses to keep hiring and growth to rebound in the April-June quarter. It will be harder than usual, though, to get a precise read on the economy because many data reports are still delayed by the partial shutdown of the government, which ended Jan. 25.

In the meantime, there are cautionary signs. Consumer confidence fell sharply in January, held back by the shutdown and by a steep fall in stock prices in December. And Americans spent less over the winter holidays, with consumer spending falling in December by the most in five years.

Home sales fell last year and price gains are slowing after the average rate on a 30-year mortgage reached nearly 5 percent last year. Sales of new homes also cratered late last year before picking up in December. And U.S. businesses have cut their orders for equipment and machinery for the past two months, a sign that they are uncertain about their customer demand.

The economy is forecast to be slowing to an annual growth rate of just 1 percent in the first three months of this year, down from 2.6 percent in the October-December quarter. Growth reached nearly 3 percent for all of last year, the strongest pace since 2015.

Still, economists expect a rebound in the April-June quarter, and there are already signs of one: Consumer confidence rose in February along with the stock market.

And more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in January, propelled by lower mortgage rates. Analysts have forecast that annual growth will top 2 percent next quarter.

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Reddaway celebrates centennial anniversary while continuing its evolution

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One hundred years after its founding, Reddaway operates with 5,000 trailers, 1,500 tractors, and is now part of YRC Regional Transportation, along with Holland in the Midwest and Southeast, and New Penn serving the Eastern United States (Courtesy: REDDWAY)

TUALATIN, Ore. — Reddaway, the longest continuously operating Oregon-based regional less-than-truckload carrier, is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year.

Founded in 1919 in Oregon City, Reddaway continues to advance its services for the 21st century while remaining the premier service provider in the Western United States and Canada, according to Reddway President Bob Stone.

Reddaway’s founder, William Arthur Reddaway, began the company with one Ford Model T truck primarily serving Portland and Oregon City. One hundred years later, Reddaway operates with 5,000 trailers, 1,500 tractors, and is now part of YRC Regional Transportation, along with Holland in the Midwest and Southeast, and New Penn serving the Eastern United States.

“It’s humbling to think about the legacy of innovation, continuous improvement, exceptional reliability and the personalized support that have not only carried us through the past 100 years, but have allowed us to thrive,” Stone said. “I have had the pleasure of witnessing it firsthand for the past 25 years. I’m honored to work alongside the dedicated people who make Reddaway a company that our customers enjoy doing business with. It’s this culture and our people who help us continue to thrive into the next century.”

As part of the company’s 100-year celebration, Reddaway will be hosting appreciation events in the Tualatin office as well as field offices to recognize and thank the thousands of loyal employees who work hard to take care of the customers they serve, Stone said.

The western U.S. provider of LTL services, Reddaway currently employs over 2,800 people and operates more than 40 service centers. With high on-time reliability and one of the lowest claim ratios in the west, Reddaway continues to lead the industry in customer satisfaction.

Reddaway has earned multiple distinctions over the years, including these recent awards such as the 2018 West Coast Regional Carrier of the Year from Worldwide Express, 2018 LTL Carrier of the Year from DHL Supply Chain and the 2018 Carrier of the Year, West Regional, by GlobalTranz.

For more information, visit www.reddawayregional.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Weak finish to 2nd quarter

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The June Pricing Index at 43.8 (seasonally adjusted) recovered a good bit of last month’s sharp decline, up from 38.8 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the lowest in survey history. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index (June data) showed nearly across-the-board declines, with capacity again the lone exception.

The Volume Index dropped further into negative territory, falling to 43.2 (seasonally adjusted) in June from 46.7 in May.

The June Pricing Index at 43.8 (seasonally adjusted) recovered a good bit of last month’s sharp decline, up from 38.8 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the lowest in survey history.

“Volumes and utilization have been down seven of eight months, and the supply-demand balance has been loosening for eight straight months,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “In line with several second quarter earnings warnings from truckload carriers this week, this is further confirmation of a weak freight environment. May’s Pricing Index looked a little anomalously bad, so it was good to see that pick back up, though still not a great level in June.”

Denoyer said volumes reached a new cycle low in June, likely due in part to rapid growth of private fleets, the slowdown in the industrial sector and some inventory drawdown.

“This coincides with most other freight metrics,” he said. “The supply-demand balance reading loosened to 41.4, from 42.1 in May. The past eight consecutive readings have shown a deterioration in the supply-demand balance, with June the largest yet.”

ACT is a publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market. ACT’s CV services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, major trucking and logistics firms, as well as the banking and investment community in North America, Europe, and China.

 

 

 

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Oil price rises on Mideast tensions, stock markets cautious

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After six weeks of declines that totaled 13 cents, the price of a gallon of diesel went up 1.3 cents a gallon for the week ending July 8 but dropped four tenths of a penny last week. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

BANGKOK — The price of oil rose on Friday after the U.S. said it had destroyed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf, where a lot of the world’s oil is shipped through. Stock markets were largely stable as investors monitor earnings and the ongoing trade talks between China and the U.S.

Energy prices were ratcheted higher after President Donald Trump said a U.S. warship had downed an Iranian drone that had been threatening. While Iran denied the incident, it’s the latest incident to increase tensions and uncertainty in the region, where oil tankers have been attacked or threatened.

About 20% of all oil traded worldwide passes through the Persian Gulf, so investors are aware of the potential for disruptions to ship traffic.

The U.S. benchmark for crude oil advanced 71 cents, or 1.3%, to $56.01 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international oil standard, picked up 98 cents, or 1.6%, to $62.91 per barrel.

Obviously, the price of on-highway diesel is an outgrowth of the price of oil.

Diesel has gone down seven of the last eight weeks.

After six weeks of declines that totaled 13 cents, the price went up 1.3 cents a gallon for the week ending July 8 but dropped four tenths of a penny last week.

Stock markets were mixed, with Britain’s FTSE 100 shedding 0.1% to 7,484 and the CAC 40 in Paris falling by the same rate to 5,543. In Germany, the DAX rose less than 0.1% to 12,236. Wall Street looked set for small gains, with the future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2% and the future for the S&P 500 adding 0.1%.

Reports that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spoke with their Chinese counterparts as planned, with more talks to come, helped ease some concerns over the deepening trade war between Washington and Beijing.

The standoff over China’s longstanding trade surpluses and its policies aimed at building up advanced high-tech industries has added to concerns over slowing demand and weaker Chinese growth.

Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will move quickly to cut interest rates have also helped buoy sentiment recently.

Comments by the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, John Williams, suggesting central banks need to “take swift action” when conditions turn adverse, have whetting investors’ appetites for buying, analysts said.

“Investors are highly sensitive to dovish comments from Fed presidents these days, as they are trying to figure out whether the Fed would lower its interest rates by 50 basis points by the end of this month,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya of London Capital Group said in a report.

“Given that a 50-basis-point cut would trigger a further rally in global equities, any remark of dovish nature translates immediately into higher asset prices,” she said.

In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 2% to 21,466.99 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.1% to 28,765.40. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.8% to 2,924.20, while in South Korea, the Kospi added 1.4% to 2,094.36. India’s Sensex slipped 1.3% to 38,390.88. Shares rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Investors are looking ahead to corporate earnings.

So far, in the U.S. the results have been mixed, though only about 13% of S&P 500 companies have reported, according to FactSet. Analysts expect profits to fall 2.4% overall by the time all reports are tallied.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 107.60 Japanese yen from 107.30 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1239 from $1.1279.

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