23 March 2020

1) The shutting down of many of American service industries is having an effect on America’s hard pressed trucking industry. Suddenly, there are fewer hauling jobs, a result of the coronavirus control measures. There are 300,000 to 400,000 thousand truck drivers who own their trucks and don’t have much protection if rates or demand for their service falls. Trucking is often considered a leading economic indicator where the rest of the economy is heading, because 71% of the freight in America is moved by trucks. A downturn in freight being hauled indicates the economy is slumping.

2) President Trump says the U.S. may be headed for a recession for the first time in eleven years as the coronavirus cripples the world economies which in turn can pull the U.S. economy down despite it being strong. Experts anticipate America will enter a recession in the upcoming second quarter, from April through June, with a decline of 4% to 8% annual pace. The unemployment rate could zoom up to 6% from its current fifty year low of 3.5%, which would hinder a recovery. Typically, economic hard times opens the way for new technologies to displace workers as business strive for ways to reduce cost and remain profitable.

3) The Department of Labor reported a 30% increase in unemployment claims, which is one of the largest spikes in claims. This signals the start of feared layoffs in response to the coronavirus impact on the economy. As more businesses are vastly reducing or stopping operations, they have no real choice but to lay off workers in the hope of surviving the coming economic storm. America’s oil industry is facing massive layoffs with tens of thousands being laid off in the shale fields like the Permian Basin as oil prices drop to alarming lows. No longer profitable to pump out shale fields and strapped with high levels of debt, the oil companies are facing bankruptcy. Six years ago, a sharp price drop in oil cost 200,000 oil workers their jobs.

4) Stock market closings for – 20 MAR 20: The Dow had its worst month since 1931.

Dow 19,173.98 down 913.21
Nasdaq 6,879.52 down 271.06
S&P 500 2,304.92 down 104.47

10 Year Yield: down at 0.94%

Oil: down at $23.64

8 October 2019

1) GE (General Electric) announced they will freeze pensions for about 20,000 salaried U.S. employees in order to help the ailing conglomerate cut debt and reduce its retirement fund by $8 billion dollars. Presently, the company has $105.8 billion dollar debt. Their pension plans are among it biggest liabilities and is underfunded by about $27 billion dollars. This move will not effect present retirees who are collecting their pensions.

2) Twenty-one days into the strike, the UAW (United Auto Workers) and GM (General Motors) contract talks have taken a turn for the worse. The snag is product commitments for U.S. factories for new vehicles, engines, transmissions and other items represented by the union. GM is losing $80 million dollars a day, while striking workers are earning about one fifth their regular pay as $260 a month strike benefits.

3) The U.S. railroads slump is getting worse from the slowdown as manufacturing threatens U.S. economy. Trucking is also feeling a slowdown with less than truckload cargos decreasing, although long haul trucking seems to be holding up. Truck rates have dropped, which is pulling some freight business away from trains.

4) Stock market closings for – 7 OCT 19:

Dow                26,478.02    down    95.70
Nasdaq             7,956.29    down    26.18
S&P 500            2,938.79    down     13.22

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.55%

Oil:    down   at    $52.80

30 August 2019

1) The American trucking industry is in trouble with many major trucking firms such as J.B. Hunt, Knight-Swift and Schneider cutting their annual outlooks. In a growing wave of trucking firms bankruptcies, 3,000 truck drivers have lost their jobs. One positive point is the trucking volume seems to be rising, although trucking is a highly cyclic business with wide swings in high and low peaks. With about 1.8 million American truckers, there is the rising threat of automated robot trucks, which the automatic driving technology industry is eyeing and experimenting already with UPS and the post office.

2) More troubles for Tesla’s SolarCity solar-panels and fires with people’s houses being set on fire resulting in extensive damage. Both Walmart and Amazon.com are suing, claiming Tesla’s solar energy systems have caused fires at their stores and warehouses. Tesla is telling home owners their need to do preventive maintenance on their solar power systems, but with 400,000 solar customers, one of the largest customer bases in America, this may not be a strategy to avoid law suits.

3) Disney’s Disney+ is penetrating NetFlix market share with very aggressive pricing and promotion programs that undercuts NetFlix rates, offering with rates that are as much as one third of NetFlix, while locking customers into contracts for as long as three year. When Disney+ announced its entry into the streaming market, Netflix grew its customer base by 2.7 million, instead of the 5 million that had been forecast. The increased competition from Disney+ and other streaming services is forcing NetFlix to use large amounts of capital to create new video content and so remain a viable competitor.

4) Stock market closings for – 29 AUG 19:

Dow 26,362.25 up 326.15
Nasdaq          7,973.39 up 116.51
S&P 500 2,924.58 up 36.64

10 Year Yield: up at 1.52%

Oil: down at $56.61

WALMART TO HIRE CLOSE TO 1,000 TRUCKERS IN 2019

ECONOMIC & FINANCE REPORT

Walmart will be hiring close to 1,000 new truck drivers in 2019. The truckers who are seasoned throughout the year, being apart of the Walmart trucking program. Walmart drivers (whom have senority) will be attaining an increase in base salary to $90,000.

In 2018 Walmart hired 1,400 truck drivers, to stream line their trucking business. Their truck driver turnover is one of the lowest in the industry and Walmart has indicated they want it to stay that way. To increase the recruits of truck drivers, Walmart has upped the ante by improving base salary, vacation days, and onboarding systems to assist their drivers better on the job,

Truck drivers shortages seems to be the main concern in 2019, data by the American Trade Association (ATA) indicates truck drivers for the past 20 years have been hovering around the 3 million to the 3.5 million drivers mark in the USA. There has been a short fall of drivers, even though freight volume has will be increasing to over 35%, within the next decade. -SB