8 months ago

The Trucker Newspaper - April 15, 2018

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28 • April 15-30, 2018 Business b Tonnage from page 23 b Business April 15-30, 2018 • 29 ment, equaled 99.7 in February, which was 6.7 percent below the previous month of 106.8. “Despite a softer February than January, freight remains robust as exhibited in the yearover-year increase,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The drivers of truck freight — personal consumption, factory output and construction — are good, plus the inventory cycle is in favor of motor carriers, so I expect freight tonnage to grow at a decent pace in the months ahead.” Meanwhile, spending on U.S. construction projects ticked up a mere 0.1 percent in February from the prior month, a sign that a growing economy is doing little to spur a more rapid pace for building homes, hospitals and highways. Construction materials are among the commodities hauled the most by truckers. The U.S. Department of Commerce said that construction spending came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.27 trillion. The lower unemployment rate and solid business and consumer confidence has supported an increase in hotel and office construction, but spending on roadways has slipped. Construction spending over the past 12 months is up just 3 percent before adjusting for inflation. Some of the sluggishness in February was because of a 2.1 percent drop in government-funded construction. But even the private sector has yet to fully perk up despite the 4.1 percent unemployment rate. Residential construction, the largest single spending category, rose just 0.1 percent in February. Homebuilders face strong demand from would-be buyers, yet there is a shortage of attractive land to develop and a dearth of construction workers. Spending on factory construction did jump 1.2 percent between February and January. But the gains came after months of steady annual declines. Over the past 12 months, spending on manufacturing plants has dropped 5.6 percent. In another development impacting trucking, Americans increased their spending just 0.2 percent in February, while their incomes were boosted by increased wages and business owners’ income. The Commerce Department said the modest spending increase followed an equal gain in January and a rise of 0.4 percent in December. Incomes increased a healthy 0.4 percent. The report came as a new indication emerged of a healthy job market. The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits dropped by 12,000 last month to 215,000 — the lowest level in 45 years. It’s a sign that employers anticipate solid growth and want to hold onto their workers. A closely watched signpost, consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. After-tax income jumped 0.4 percent. With consumers holding back on spending, the savings rate rose to 3.4 percent — the highest since last August. The rate was 3.2 percent in January. Savings had fallen to a 12-year low in December. The healthy income gains could spur more spending in the coming months. The government has revised upward to 2.9 percent its estimate of the rate of growth in gross domestic product for the fourth quarter. That capped a nine-month stretch in which the economy grew at the fastest pace in 12 years. 8 HOME Associated DELIVERY: Press sources contributed CALL to this report. 800-666-2770 EXT. 5029 HOME DELIVERY: CALL 800-666-2770 EXT. 5029 Hate it when you can’t find Hate The Trucker? it when you Now you can’t see find it in your The mailbox! Trucker? Now you can see it in your mailbox! Have our issues sent to your home for less than $5 a month. Have our issues sent to your home for less than $5 a month. 100% Owner OperatOrs Oversize Freight Equals Oversize Pay Lease Purchase Program Operator Success = Diamond Success With your experience in over-dimensional freight and our professional support, we can show you the true value of Diamond. $1,250 Sign-On Bonus Performance & Safety Bonuses Weekly Settlements & Direct Deposit Family owned for over 70 years Small Fleets Welcome ROTELLA ROUNDUP The 411on10W-30 By Dan Arcy, Shell Lubricants Many fleets are switching to 10W-30 engine oils from traditional 15W-40 oils. The reason is fuel economy. Thinner viscosities mean the engine doesn’t have to work as hard and uses less fuel. Think of it like swimming through honey vs. water. Honey is thicker than water, so more energy is used to move through it. The same goes for an engine’s moving parts. A 15W-40 oil requires more energy to move through it whereas 10W-30 oil produces less drag on your engine. But can a 10W-30 protect as well as a 15W- 40? You bet. It comes down to quality additives and composition of base oil. In fact, Shell ROTELLA ® T5 10W-30 can protect as well or better than industry-standard 15W-40 oils. Give it a shot in your fleet. To learn more go to SPECIALIZED SINCE 1919 Call 262-554-4025 or visit www. Comments, questions or ideas? Email us at 1151572_A127_Nov_2017_TheTRUCKER_5.125x7.5.indd 1 10/20/17 1:47 PM