Today’s Pickup: Economy starts to feel effects of hurricanes

Destruction from Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, TX. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Destruction from Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, TX. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

According to the latest blog post from FTR written by Steve Graham, the effect of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is now starting to show up in national economic data.

Third-quarter GDP is likely to decline by one-half a percent, he wrote, with lower industrial production, retail sales and housing starts also seeing impacts. Higher gas prices due to the disruption is driving up inflation and construction costs will likely remain elevated for several months.

“Housing starts moderated this week, as hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the two largest states for homebuilding,” Graham wrote. “The absence of those two markets will hurt housing for several months before rebuilding starts in earnest. Housing is being hit by low inventory, which did reduce existing home sales.”

He added that September housing reports could reflect the storms, as 20% of existing home sales this year took place in Florida and Texas.

Did you know?

According to a C.J. Driscoll & Associates survey, 60% of the fleets are still using paper logs to monitor drivers’ hours-of-service compliance.

Quotable:

“Channel analysis indicates that August was the second-best sales month this year. The retail and wholesale market segments fared well, posting gains of 11% and 19% month over month, respectively.”

- Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research, on used-truck sales

In other news:

White House nominates new FMCSA head

The White House has picked Ray Martinez, Ray Martinez, chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, to lead FMCSA. (Transport Topics)

Fleets continue to wait to deploy ELDs

A study by C.J. Driscoll and Associates found that 60% of fleets surveyed are still using paper logs to monitor driver’s hours. (Fleet Owner)

Startup secures $9M to build predictive logistics

A San Francisco startup has secured $9 million in funding as it seeks to use artificial intelligence to build a predictive logistics platform. (Transport Topics)

3PLs still offer value

A study has found that despite technological advances, third-party logistics providers still provide significant value to the logistics chain. (Fleet Owner)

Rates are heading up

Years of tight capacity and not enough drivers are combining with an economy that continues to grow and the result is likely to be large rate increases. (DC Velocity)

Final Thoughts

All indications continue to point to a large segment of the industry waiting to deploy ELD devices ahead of the December mandate. With CVSA saying that enforcement penalties won’t start to the spring, one has to wonder if fleets and owner-operators may put off their buying decisions even longer.  

Hammer down everyone!