At a glance: Trucking jobs and freight show uptick

By Land Line staff

Will more U.S. jobs lead to more freight for truckers to haul? How are small businesses doing? And what is the latest on truck tonnage? Here’s a look at the trucking economy in brief.

U.S. companies added 237,000 workers in June, and that could spell good news for truckers and everyone else.

That’s the highest number of jobs added in 6 months and considerably more than analysts were expecting.

More jobs usually translate into more spending, and more goods for truckers to haul.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck transportation gained 9,000 jobs in April following a loss of 7,000 jobs in March.

A survey by Time Magazine indicates thattrucking companies that make less than $5 million a year make up the fastest-growing small-business industry in the U.S. 

The survey by Sageworks financial analysts says small business general freight hauling has seen a 25 percent increase in business while building and construction trucking is up 17 percent.

A strengthening of the overall economy was cited as the driving force.

After dropping by more than a percentage point in April, the number of tons carried by U.S. trucks was up just over 1 percent in May according to the American Trucking Associations.

ATA’s chief economist says that tonnage isn’t very strong right now because factory output is sluggish. But he’s optimistic things will pick up later in the year.

Compiled from staff reports

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Iowa commission approves $286 million for U.S. Highway 20

By Randy M. Cauthron, Spencer Daily Reporter

Dating back decades, there has been a push in northwest Iowa for the state to complete the U.S. Highway 20 corridor. The proposal would expand the two-lane highway to four lanes from Interstate 35 to Sioux City.

Plans were recently announced by the Iowa Department of Transportation, in its five-year-plan, to complete the final 30.5 miles from just west of U.S. Highway 71 to Sioux City by the end of 2018.

Many view the addition of two lanes in each direction as an opportunity for additional economic growth in the Upper Midwest. A dramatic increase in traffic counts along the most recently completed segments of four-lane U.S. 20 – between Fort Dodge and the U.S. 71 exit – has been accompanied by business start-ups along the corridor already.

But will the additional east-west travel lanes provide any benefit to the Iowa Lakes Corridor, which begins a few miles north of U.S. Highway 20 and continues to the Minnesota border?
Kiley Miller, CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, believes it does.

“Intuitively yes, it’s positive,” Miller suggested, noting that he hasn’t done any specific impact analysis on the matter since taking over leadership of the Corridor. “We have advocated for the passage for some time. Any time you can add to the infrastructure like that it’s great”

Despite the fact that Spencer is 50 miles north of U.S. 20, City Manager Bob Fagen agreed. “I think it is important for us. That’s the closest four-lane highway we have in the state.”
The Corridor CEO continued, “It could possibly impact trucking rates. The more traffic we get flowing through this area, the more it could affect rates for companies shipping to and from the Corridor.”

“Specifically,” Fagen commented, “if we’re going to be able to recruit businesses with truck traffic, we need to have access that is as quick as possible. Having 20 four-lane from the east to the west of the state is going to help with that.”

Reprinted with permission of Spencer Daily Reporter

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