October 4, 2013 8:15 AM, EDT

Graves: Government Shutdown Could Hurt Trucking

Steven Purcell for TT

The shutdown of the federal government could harm the economy, which in turn would hurt the trucking industry, American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves said.

Appearing on the Fox Business Network on Oct. 3, Graves said trucking is recovering from the recession of recent years, but the effects of the shutdown and potential problems with the United States hitting its debt limit in coming weeks could reverse that.

“We think the government shutdown and the potential for ongoing debate over the debt ceiling could really have a very, very negative impact on consumer confidence on the overall health of the economy,” he said.

In addition to the indirect effects, truckers who haul for the government could see more direct consequences of the shutdown.

“A lot of tonnage in this country, a lot of product is moved in support of government functions,” said Graves, who served as governor of Kansas from 1995 to 2003. “As people get laid off and there’s not disposable income, people perhaps don’t get checks, they don’t buy stuff, there isn’t as much demand to stock shelves, it all adds up.”

Graves said that in general, he’s optimistic about the industry.

“We know the economy’s going to rebound and come back in spite of some government inadequacies,” he said.