January 16, 2014 9:30 AM, EST
Economy Expands at Moderate Pace; Transportation Services Mostly Positive, Fed Says

The U.S. economy continued to expand at a moderate pace from November to the end of the year, with reports on transportation services generally positive, the Federal Reserve said.

The economic outlook is positive in most of 12 Federal Reserve districts, with some citing expectations of “more of the same,” the Fed said in its latest Beige Book report on U.S. economic conditions released Jan. 15.

In the Atlanta district, trucking contacts said they anticipate tonnage will rise substantially over the previous year due to growing sectors of the economy that generate heavier freight loads, such as residential construction and energy production.

Atlanta reported rail contacts cited year-over-year increases in intermodal traffic due to increases in the movement of petroleum products.

The Richmond, Va., district reported an executive at a national trucking firm said demand has slowed in recent weeks, which would result in capacity tightening as some smaller firms shut down or idle trucks rather than renew vehicle registrations for 2014.

The district reported port activity remained strong and that sales of heavy trucks in West Virginia are being driven by increased natural-gas production in that state.

In Dallas, intermodal cargo volumes declined, and the district reported labor shortages for truck drivers, construction workers, auditors and engineers.