CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–US Xpress Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: USX) today released its economic forecast covering the first half of 2022, which highlights trends and updates specific to the logistics industry. Full and detailed forecasts are available on the company’s website. Four key themes have emerged for the first half of 2022:
- Gradual increase in truck loading capacity. It’s hard to resist the lure of an environment of robust inflation rates and freight volumes for enterprising drivers who want to reap the rewards by operating under their own operating authority. Recruitment efforts for midsize and larger fleets will continue to struggle against drivers’ desire to become owner-operators or independent carriers. Asset-based carriers will need to rely more on their brokerage divisions to assemble the trucks they need to fulfill their contract commitments.
- Arrears of tractor and trailer equipment. We continue to see record retail prices for used PSUs; with increases of nearly 68% year over year. Last year also saw a slew of new entrants into the operator market despite record equipment prices. One theory we’re exploring is that more experienced drivers are taking advantage of soaring real estate values by using their home equity to finance the purchase of used equipment. Additionally, the Biden administration expects the global semiconductor shortage to persist for at least the second half of this year, so the pressure on equipment manufacturing may not be resolved any time soon.
- Tightening of consumer spending. Many government agencies have reported that inflation is at a multi-decade high and rising wages, materials and transportation costs continue to ripple downstream from food manufacturers and suppliers to retailers and to consumers. If inflation continues to creep into Americans’ daily purchasing decisions, it will erode their sense of confidence in the economy. However, lower consumer demand could help resolve much of the strain currently on supply chains.
- Legislative programs in a midterm election year. The end of 2021 ushered in an infrastructure bill that will have far-reaching impacts on the trucking industry. Construction projects will likely compete for workers who would otherwise have entered the driver pool. Current supply chain challenges and workforce development programs will certainly be front and center for policy makers. A slimmed-down version of the “Build Back Better Act” could also reappear and there is still uncertainty over what unemployment benefits will look like in a post-pandemic economy.
US Xpress Enterprises, Inc. is on a mission to improve the flow of goods every day. Since its inception in 1985, the company has become an essential link in the supply chain, offering a portfolio of capacity solutions to its customers. This includes an established dedicated fleet serving some of the largest shippers in the country, as well as innovative over-the-road (OTR) and brokerage solutions. Variant, the company’s driver-focused OTR division, is the fastest growing fleet in the industry. US Xpress’ brokerage offering, Xpress Technologies, provides shippers and carriers greater capability, tools and resources to better manage and grow their business. Led by more than 10,000 professionals, these companies are driving innovation in the industry and helping to shape the future of logistics.