ACT Research: 2023 Recession Now ACT’s Base-Case Scenario for Forecasts

In the release of its Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, ACT Research reported that its analysts have updated their forecast scenarios to include a recession in 2023.

The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis from a wide variety of industry sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report includes a relevant but high-level forecast summary, complete with transportation insights for use by commercial vehicle dealer executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the total US trailer market, used truck sales information, and a review of the US macro economy.

ACT Seminar 56_60According to Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst, “We have revised our economic forecasts and are now modeling a recession in the first half of 2023, although flat (0.0%) for full-year 2023.” Elaborating on the impact to commercial vehicle forecasts, he said, “Regarding Class 8, there are some moving pieces, with a higher 2022 forecast and lower expectations for 2023 and 2024. And while the medium-duty market’s diversity has helped insulate it from the volatility of the freight markets to some degree, its inability to gain traction, coupled with mounting recession pressures, necessitated another reduction in the production and sales forecasts.” Vieth continued, “Similar to our Class 8 changes, we slightly raised the 2022 US trailer forecast, but lowered 2023 and 2024 expectations to reflect a likely recession.”

Stock ImageAdditionally, he noted factors that ACT anticipates will mitigate a more severe downturn. Vieth stated, “Carrier profitability is strong and ongoing pent-up demand continues, albeit less so as economic expectations are eroded.” Elaborating about carrier profitability, he commented, “Carrier profits were at all-time record levels in 2021, and TL fleet contract rates will still rise high single digits this year. Profitability tends to lag the freight cycle, so our modeling anticipates carrier margins, that have been above 2021 levels through the first half of this year, will be near record level when the 2022 accounting is complete.” He concluded, “As we have long argued, carrier profits are the critical element in vehicle demand.”

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at

ACT’s 67th Seminar is scheduled for August 23-25, 2022. The focus will be the potential impact of decarbonization and autonomous technology on commercial vehicles and on-highway transportation. Each event ACT shares its best-in-class data and forecast in presentations, as well as featuring guest speakers to dive into topics of interest for the benefit of attendees. The agenda includes key industry leaders, who will be announced at a later date. For more information about Seminar 67 Watts Under The Hood: Transportation Transformation, click here:

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is available now at

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at

Click here for more information about ACT’s Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest.

Click here for information about other ACT Research publications and services.

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