“This recovery is getting a little stale.”
That was the comment made by economist Noel Perry last month in a conference call hosted by transportation intelligence firm FTR.
Using a simple chart, he showed how the current recovery is the weakest since World War II. That hasn’t stopped trucking from enjoyed a heaping of prosperity since the end of the Great Recession, with some fleets seeing their best times ever, but this year may not live up to 2014.
Perry cautioned that a sustained annual economic growth rate of 3% to 3.5% is not likely. FTR projects average growth next year to be just 2.5%.
“It’s unusual for recoveries to be stronger at the end more than they were at the beginning,” Perry said. “So when you read these optimistic economic forecasts saying the economy is finally recovering, you should do so with great skepticism.”
He believes there is a risk of a recession “given the perilous economic situation in many parts of the world,” but more importantly for trucking, “the freight economy does not tend to behave well late in recoveries and … we are late in this recovery.”
So when will this “boom time” be over? Two to no more than three years from now, Perry said, basing that analysis on past history. By mid 2017 to mid 2018, he said, freight is likely to grow only 1% annually, compared to 4.8% annually so far in this recession.
This is just one man’s opinion, albeit an opinion from someone is regarded highly in this industry. Like any of us, he could be wrong. There is another headwind that will hit trucking in the next two to three years that’s nearly inevitable, and could be a good news/bad news scenario. More on that tomorrow.