ACT Research: K-Shaped Recovery for US Economy, V-Shaped Recovery for Freight Economy

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the US economy is recovering in a K-shaped pattern, meaning some segments are enjoying a more V-shaped recovery, while others are mired on an L-shaped trajectory.

The report, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a wide variety of sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report is designed as a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the US trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the US macro economy.

“Fortunately for freight economy, the pattern has been more V-shaped,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “The story for the transport sector and particularly for heavy duty trucks can be summed in two words: surprisingly strong.”

Used 9_24_20

Vieth explained, “Over-the-road carriers are enjoying a period of volume growth and pricing power that would have been considered shocking, though welcomed, from an April 2020 vantage point.” He continued, “The underpinnings for this strength include the lighter impact of COVID-19 on goods-producing sectors, which are truck intensive, as compared to the devastation still being felt by services sectors, which are not trucking intensive. In addition, the consumer spending substitution away from experiences and toward goods, pent-up demand for inventory restocking, a hot housing market, low interest rates and low energy prices are supporting freight.”

In conclusion, Vieth noted, “It is fair to question whether some of these trends will have legs that stretch beyond COVID and its cure or mitigation, but for now they are influential for commercial vehicle markets.”

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

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