New COVID Cases Threaten Economic and Commercial Vehicle Recovery

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the tug of war between positive and negative influences on the business environment and trucking reached a pivotal juncture at the end of June, but escalation in new COVID cases since mid-June threatens to abort this nascent recovery.

In recognition of the virus’ impact, ACT Research has created an easily accessible COVID-19 MARKET WATCH webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators, which can be found at https://pages.actresearch.net/covid-19.

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.

“The sudden shock of the COVID-19 recession pushed the market off the edge of the cliff in March and April, but almost as swift and sharp was the rebound in the economy and in freight in May and June,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “Recognizing that we are at a fork in the road, our guess is the positive momentum of the last two months can be sustained, but that depends on the ongoing trajectory of the contagion curve, future policy responses, changes impacting key goods-producing and distribution industry activities, and international economics, just to name a few.”

Vieth continued, “Economic reports released in early June depicted an economy that was recovering at a seemingly stronger-than-expected pace, encouraging an air of optimism regarding the advancing pace of activity.” He further explained, “Unfortunately, toward the end of June, a resurgence of COVID-19 across many states raised the specter of renewed closings and possible acceleration of layoffs, highlighting the uncertainty that still clouds the business outlook.”

Vieth noted that the pandemic isn’t the only point of concern, despite its top billing, “The US energy sector remains vulnerable, increased trade tensions with China are another consideration, as well as the restructuring of the retail sector, and from there we can’t forget potential issues surrounding commercial real estate as well as general credit market conditions that may pose risks just over the horizon.”

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 www.actresearch.net.