Hello 2011, Goodbye 2010
2010 is counting down towards 2011 and a New Year dawns.
Aside from the question about how big will the hangover be on January 1st after the big New Year's Eve party, there are some really serious questions about 2011 and the now, very immediate future.
In 2010, the economy did not recover.
Anyone peddling economic recovery in 2010 found themselves flogging a dead horse. For all the billions of dollars in stimulus money, the economy did not grow and unemployment has stuck at over 9% throughout the year as job losses threatened to go into freefall.
On the positive side, manufacturers and distributors are picking up in terms of sales volumes. This is really good news for the trucking industry. 2010 saw a lot of "old stock" being used to cover reduced consumer demand. The old stock was effectively being used to supply customers who were hungry for slashed prices and also to cover retailers who did not want to buy in more stock only to find they couldn't sell it. For carriers, this meant a dramatic drop in the level of haulage work available and the squeeze has been felt far and wide.
Why is there now good news for carriers?
As manufacturers and distributors start gearing up in anticipation of market improvements in 2011, more goods, equipment and raw materials have to be shipped across the country. That means more work for truckers.
The retail holiday season starts with Thanksgiving and Black Friday and Cyber Saturday shopping days forming key dates in the retail calendar. While 2010 figures broke no records, they beat out 2009 numbers turning positive and almost getting back to the volumes seen in 2008 before the crash. So far, the sales numbers are still positive with the Christmas shopping season, and while it is too early to say, "The recession is over," it is fair to say that the American consumer has made a strong return to Main Street, and that is very good news for everyone.
What will 2011 bring aside from more work for hard pressed truckers?
More regulations for a start. The trucking community can expect more legislation and efforts to "improve" truck safety. 2010 has seen a range of new laws brought in, including proposals for cell phone bans, tightening up of the HOS rules and EOBR usage. Expect more of the same plus increasing pressure from the environmental lobby (though the raising of truck cargo weights is something to be watched closely in Maine).
One thing is certain though, we will be back here before your hangover clears in 2011. For anyone looking for the best tractor trailer deals in the nation, Trucker to Trucker will continue to provide the best source for sellers, buyers and resources on the internet.
Have a Happy New Years and see you in 2011 :)
English Karl & Trucker Jim