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Linked quarter declines in both freight shipment volume and spend are in line with the deceleration many expected in third quarter gross domestic product growth. As trucking often leads the broader economy, the decreases seen in the U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index suggest economic growth may have peaked and may decelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond. Despite the sequential decreases in shipments and spending last quarter, the national truck market remains solid and capacity tight.

While still difficult to ascertain the exact impact that Hurricane Florence had in the Southeast during the third quarter, it was undoubtedly negative. However, there will eventually be a freight bump associated with rebuilding efforts. While still very early in implementation, U.S. tariffs on some foreign products – as well as retaliatory tariffs on some U.S. goods – likely had at least a slight negative impact on the quarter as well.

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Q3 2018 U.S. Bank Freight Payment Index

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