The unemployment level of the United States recently hit its lowest level since 2008. Currently the unemployment rate is 6.3%. This is good news for everyone in the U.S. especially truck drivers and transportation companies. The U.S. Labor Department showed that 288,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in April. Of those jobs, 6,800 were in for-hire trucking and over 11,000 of those jobs were in the more broad transportation industry.
With the increase in jobs comes an increase in national spending. And with an increase in spending, more raw materials are needed, therefore, giving more business to the transportation industry. Factories shipping levels are the highest they have been since 1992. Durable and capital goods shipment levels have increased on average one percent per month for the last few months, more good news for the transportation industry.
The auto sales industry is also at a high point in its recent history, with an estimated 1.4 million cars being sold in April, more than 8% higher than the numbers from April of 2013. Again, good news for trucking companies, more cars being built equals a higher need for raw materials. The auto industry is a key driver in the steel industry which is one of the largest markets for flatbed transportation.
The key indicators are all pointing North. Unemployment is down and shipping needs are up. Trucks are in high demand and capacity per load is near record lows. Keep in mind that the transportation industry has not even moved into the peak shipping season – industry analysts and carriers are universally predicting very tight capacity and truck availability at premiums. This is all very good news for the transportation industry.