Fleet Management

Consumer Confidence Increase To Benefit Trucking

May 29, 2001

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Consumers are feeling better about the U.S. economy and seem likely to spend more money on goods hauled by truck.
This morning the Conference Board released its index of consumer attitudes, which jumped to 115.5 in May, up from a revised figure of 109.9 the month before.
The May number also surpassed a forecast of 111.2 predicted by economists polled by Reuters and is several points higher than a four and a half year low of 109.2 reached in February.
The Conference Board also reported its Expectations Index, which measures consumer outlook for the next six months, took a healthy jump, moving up from 79.1 in April to 86.8 in May.
Newport Economist Jim Haughey says this is good news for trucking.
"It means what the Federal Reserve has done with cutting interest rates is having an impact, and the inventory overhang in the economy which began last fall is well on its way to being cleared up."
Haughey said consumers are feeling more secure about their incomes because there are fewer layoffs or threats of layoffs. He predicts this should keep the economy moving along slowly, although not like it was last year, but moving ahead through the summer and through the end of the year, and freight will be parallel to that.
Haughey added this news will likely mean an increase in big consumer purchases such as appliances, furniture and electronics -- things that are delivered to the retailer in a truck. He predicts it is not going to mean a lot for consumer packaged goods or apparel, saying, "they didn’t suffer much in recent months and they’ll just keep chugging along."

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