With the majority of the United States having reopened to some degree this summer, we were given a peek into what a post-pandemic world could be. While the emergence of a coronavirus variant is cause for concern, the American economic recovery continues to proceed at an encouraging pace.
There are many encouraging signs and reasons for optimism, but growth can’t be taken for granted. Businesses raising wages to motivate people to return to work could very well fan the flames of long-term inflation. If inflation becomes a serious issue, the Federal Reserve may be forced to move aggressively by raising interest rates to tamp down economic growth. The next two quarters will reveal a good deal about the upstream, macroeconomic effects that will trickle downstream into the trucking industry by early 2022.
Our Q3 2021 Economic Forecast uses several macroeconomic and freight industry indicators to discuss three key themes that will shape freight markets over the next quarter. As with our prior forecast, we still expect the inflationary rate environment to persist for the remainder of 2021 – perhaps even through Q2 of 2022 – causing elevated freight volumes to contend with stifled truckload capacity for a while longer.
COVID-19 has taught our industry a great many lessons about how to strive in the face of adversity. But, amidst the hustle of moving goods during a pandemic, how many of us were able to stop, reflect, and feel the ground shifting under our feet? What revelations remain once the country has finally emerged from this public health and economic emergency? The industry may very well emerge from this episode only to realize that the usual operating models in trucking, the old rules, no longer apply.
U.S. Xpress VP of Strategic Intelligence Charles Simpson explains more in our Q3 2021 Economic Forecast Update. Download it now.