U.S. Economy Improving Moderately, Fed Says
The U.S. economy improved at a modest to moderate pace in the six weeks ended in mid-November, and freight volume shows signs of strengthening, the Federal Reserve said.
Transportation and freight services, especially those related to railroads, ports and trucking, strengthened across districts, the Fed said in its latest “beige book” report on U.S. economic conditions released Dec. 4.
The Richmond, Va., district noted an executive at a national trucking firm reported that business was consistent with no changes in pricing or capital expenditures.
Manufacturing activity expanded modestly in most of the Fed’s 12 districts, with gains noted in the motor-vehicle and high-technology industries, the Fed said.
Atlanta reported record levels of container shipments, bulk cargos, and truck and intermodal freight. Trucking tonnage continued to increase year-over-year from heavier freight loads. The district also cited significant investment in the production of liquefied natural gas for use in the transportation sector.
Demand for heavy- and medium- duty trucks increased in the Chicago district in anticipation of new EPA standards in 2014 that will raise the cost of trucks, according to the report.
The Minneapolis district reported that salaries there have increased at a faster pace for mechanics, truckers and information technology workers. Firms in the Kansas City, Mo., district reported continued difficulties in obtaining skilled labor, such as truck drivers, construction workers and machinists.
The Fed releases its beige book report eight times a year. Wednesday’s report, which covered the period of Oct. 7 through Nov. 22, was prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
© 2013, Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.
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