After contracting in 2022, the economy is growing again as employment remains consistent and consumers keep spending despite inflation concerns. The overall U.S. economy might not be as bound for a recession in 2023 as the mainstream media has warned much of this year. But the freight economy might have to start the new year working its way out of a hole. If you watch cable news, you’ll see and hear much economic negativity going into 2023. We get questioned a lot about why aren’t we more negative than we are. Federal travel regulation tracked negative growth in the first two quarters of 2022. Truckload volumes began the year at a higher level after solid growth in 2021. Coming into 2022, we were running at a pretty good clip, ahead of the pandemic levels. Pent-up industrial demand is also driving the transportation industry forecast. After leveling off earlier this year, new orders for manufactured goods are back on the rise. Payroll jobs continue to run at a healthy level—not as strong as they have been—but they’re still chugging along at healthy levels. . Even with all the reasons to be negative out there, the data doesn’t yet show that consumption is going down. We haven’t seen spending really participate in those declines. Taking inflation into account, consumer spending on goods and services is out-performing pre-pandemic trendlines, Todd Tranausky noted. “So spending continues to hang in. At some point out there in the future, this can’t continue. But for the moment, it is holding up very well and shows no signs of holding back. It shows no signs of going back. It shows no signs of declining.
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