According to the recently released ACT Research Transportation Digest, the Class 8 truck market started 2019 with powerful positive momentum from a remarkable and record-setting 2018. In the Classes 5-7 market, the truck segment made yet another outsized contribution to the total medium duty market, perpetuating its growth. In other news, same dealer sales of used Class 8 equipment took a larger-than-expected hit in November, and trailer orders, while solid, are not following a normal seasonal path.
The report, which combines ACT’s proprietary data analysis across a wide variety of industry sources to paint a comprehensive picture of trends in transportation and commercial vehicle markets, also showed that U.S. economic growth in 2019 is expected to decelerate as monetary policy and supply have become less accommodative even as the benefits of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act diminish.
“While economic pressures and uncertainty have caused some to raise the specter of a recession, starting in 2019, we think that projecting a recession at this point is premature,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Even though there are signs of weakness, there are also signs of continued strength, not least is the robust December labor market report. That said, we are not suggesting there is no basis for concern, but the weakness of economic activity we project has led us to expect ‘sectoral recessions.’
“The heavy-duty truck market is maintaining its momentum, but the critical question at this point regards cycle duration,” Vieth added. “We are working to interpret the meaning of falling stock markets, the flight to safety in bonds, the downward spiral in energy and industrial commodity prices, and accumulating evidence of a global slowdown, which have caused the perspectives on the next six to eight quarters to become hazy, with downside risks.”