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September 3, 2014 3:00 PM, EDT
Economy Continues to Expand at Unchanged Rate, Fed Says
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The economy continued to expand from early July to late August but with little indication the pace of growth has changed, the Federal Reserve said.

Districts reporting on transportation services generally noted growth, with Cleveland, Atlanta, and Dallas reporting moderate to strong freight volumes, the Fed said in its Beige Book report released Sept. 3.

The Atlanta district reported trucking companies noted strong freight volumes, but driver shortages and tight trucking capacity continue to negatively affect business.

Dallas also said overall cargo volumes increased since the last report. Some construction-related manufacturers in that district reported a shortage of truck drivers, with one contact telling the Fed it is sponsoring commercial drive license training in an effort to fill necessary positions.

In Cleveland, several freight haulers said they are concerned about a capacity shortage, and although most fleets would like to add capacity, they are having difficulty finding qualified drivers. Rising costs related to labor are being passed through to higher shipping rates.

A trucking executive in the Richmond District reported business was steady at typical levels, with some upward movement in contract and spot market pricing. He said that his firm was seeing a continued shift toward more “dedicated” agreements, with customers locking in rates for future shipping.

The Fed releases its Beige Book report eight times a year.  The report, which covered the period from July 7 to Aug. 22, was prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.