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10/10/2012 2:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

U.S. to Show Modest Growth in 2013, Economists Tell MCE

Warn of Congress, White House Avoiding ‘Fiscal Cliff’

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

LAS VEGAS — If Congress and the president can avoid a “self-inflicted” recession early next year, the U.S. economy in general, and trucking specifically, will probably keep limping along with very modest growth in 2013, economists said here Tuesday at American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.

Three economists — including ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello — told MCE attendees that the much discussed “fiscal cliff” is a real and significant danger to the economy.

If elected officials cannot fix the threat of a sudden budgetary contraction of up to $550 billion, the U.S. economy could contract for at least two quarters, said Gregory Daco of consulting firm IHS Global Insight during the “All Eyes on the Economy” panel.

Without a cliff event, Daco forecast growth of 1.8% for the nation’s gross domestic product next year. But if taxes rise and spending falls, GDP will contract by 0.1% for the year, he said in the panel discussion, which was moderated by business reporter Stuart Varney of Fox News.

Costello said truck tonnage is still growing, though more slowly than before. He also said the growth is uneven, with flatbed and tank truck carriers prospering, refrigerated carriers breaking even on tonnage and dry van freight contracting. Rising tractor prices are also a threat to the industry, he added.

By Jonathan S. Reiskin
Associate News Editor

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