With the holiday season over, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to slowly decline through the first quarter of the year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“This is the time of year when the retail supply chain catches its breath before the next big rush begins,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers are still tallying the bottom line of the holiday season, but they’re also making plans for the spring and summer.”
“The U.S. LEI registered another increase in November, with building permits, the interest rate spread, and stock prices driving the improvement,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Although the six-month growth rate of the LEI has moderated, the economic outlook for the final quarter of the year and into the new year remains positive.”
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Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the second consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 79th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 0.9% in November, following an increase of 1.8% during October. The October figure was revised down from our press release on November 24. In November, the index equaled 134.3 (2000=100), down from 135.5 in October, and 1.1% below the all-time high of 135.8 reached in January 2015.
On Nov 29th, the U.S. Department of Transportion’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officially published the Final Rule in the Federal Register pertaining to Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; referred to as the “driver coercion rule”.
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Although the economy continued to be sluggish in November, our Freight Shipments Index was stronger than expected. Freight payments decreased, as capacity to carry was abundant. Black Friday sales—combined with Cyber Monday sales—were very strong this year as customers took advantage of reduced prices and discounts, placing orders before the cost of shipping goes up for the remainder of the holiday period.