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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Class 5-8 Truck Orders Stay Above 20,000, Economy Shows Strength

October and November were positive months for truck new order placement, exceeding order trends of the previous few months, according to ACT, publisher of new and used commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasting services.

Preliminary data shows November Class 8 truck net orders at 20,915 units, the second consecutive month above the 20,000 unit threshold. October had been the first to exceed the 20,000 unit threshold since 2007.

The fourth quarter is historically the start of the order season for Class 8 vehicles for the new year,” said Ken W. Vieth, ACT’s senior partner and general manager and the order volume exceeded the OEM build plans for October and November.

The calendar year 2013 has shown continued gains move higher quarter by quarter. Vieth said his expectations were for continued momentum through the fourth quarter.

Trucking Gets Retail Jumpstart

Retail sales in the U.S. increased in November by the most in five months, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Predictions for a year-end rally have been accurate so far with a huge December retail month still in the works.

For the year of 2012, U.S. manufacturers and related industries shipped almost 11.7 billion tons of goods valued at more than $13.6 trillion, according to preliminary numbers from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau.

Preliminary numbers from the CFS show that in 2012 trucks moved manufactured goods, refined petroleum products, chemicals and raw materials originating with shippers in the U.S., amounting to about 8 billion tons in shipments valued at $10 trillion. These shipments represent 73.7% of the value and 70% of the weight of freight. The CFS covers about three-fourths of all freight movements, excluding imports, shipments from farms, crude oil production, and a few smaller categories.

For the trucking industry the good news is in comparing a relatively solid 2012 to the growing volume forecast for 2013. For-hire trucking moved $6.6 of the value of manufactured goods, or 48.5% of the total value, while private trucking transported $3.4 trillion or 32.5% of the total value. The percent of tons represented by each was 37.5% for the former and 32.5% latter.

Economic Watch

During November, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the industrial production in the United States grew at its fastest pace in a year with output increasing past a pre-recession peak.

This measure of the total output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities increased 1.1% in November from October, while the October figure was 0.1% hike. The gain in November was the largest since November 2012.

Manufacturing output increased 0.6% in November for its fourth consecutive monthly gain. Production at mines advanced 1.7% to more than reverse a decline of 1.5% in October. The index for utilities was up 3.9% in November, as colder-than-average temperatures boosted demand for heating compared to November 2012; U.S. industrial production is 3.2% higher.

David Sloan, a senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York, in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, said: “It does suggest that the manufacturing sector is gaining a little bit of momentum. You’ve got a decent underlying picture of respectable, if not terribly rapid, growth.”