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Survey finds trucking remains optimistic

Recent economic uncertainty hasn't phased the trucking industry too much.
/ Industry News & Trends /

By: Phil Sneed

January was not a good month for the global economy, to put the situation lightly. A combination of factors led to stock markets in the U.S. and abroad to go through turbulent times that understandably have industries and professionals on edge.

Much of the economic turmoil has centered around uncertainty in China and low oil prices. Economic growth in the country was lower than expected, among other factors plaguing their economy.

Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of oil has hovered around $30 for much of the month, even dipping to as low as $27.

The end of January did bring some positive news, however, as the Dow Jones industrial average capped the turbulent period by ending up 400 points. But it still posted its worst month since January 2008, USA Today explained. The Nasdaq composite didn't fare much better this month as it declined approximately 7.9 percent. January 2016 represents the worst month for Nasdaq since May 2010.

All together, stocks closed nearly two percentage points higher on the last day of January, but uncertainty still exists.

With such economic volatility, industries, including trucking, are closely paying attention to what the future has in store. If the first month of 2016 is off to a new year, no doubt some are uneasy about the next 11 months.

One industry that doesn't seem too fazed by recent happenings: trucking.

"Sixty-one percent of fleets are planning to expand this year."

Survey reveals optimism
Much of the American economy relies on trucking. It may come as a bit of a surprise then that a recent survey from Transport Capital Partners revealed trucking executives remain optimistic about 2016's prospects, and they are even projecting growth.

According to Fleet Owner, TCP partner Steven Dutro said that while expectations are lower, they are still positive. He added this is a sign of a stable business environment with some fear of a possible recession.

Some of the reduced optimism can be traced to the decline in freight activity that started in the fourth quarter of 2015 and now continues. As a result, about 41 percent of respondents to TCP's survey are looking forward to interest rate increases, down from 79 percent at the beginning of 2015.

As another sign trucking is not phased by the economy, 61 percent of fleets are planning to expand this year.