Post-Stimulus Slowdown and State of Play within the Trucking Industry

The graph below was provided by FTR Transportation Intelligence which is where Mytee Products gets its data on the trucking industry’s past, present, and future. This graph accurately depicts what has led from a massive increase in sales to a concerning slowdown. To accurately explain where the industry is and how it got there, this graph has been broken down into specific key points where external and internal factors affected the industry.

Truck Loadings Index by FTR

FTR Truck Loading Index
FTR Truck Loading Graph

Leading up to point number 1 was the industry average. Supply and demand were about equal and the country was in a comfortable position economically. However, the early months of 2020 became a panic point for everyone when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing everyone to reside in their homes for weeks up to months. There was a massive shutdown, and gyms, daycares, and other nonessential businesses were closing to minimize the spread of the virus which led to a sharp decline in product sales for items that weren’t deemed essential.

The market then shifted from the needs of products such as trucking supplies to goods like groceries. The following months after the pandemic struck is when the U.S. Government issued the first of the stimulus checks which is where point number 2 resides. Essential workers still working during the pandemic were given a bonus to their income and could afford to buy products again instead of goods. The demand for goods products started to increase back to normal, however, the spending started to decrease once more, and the government issued a second stimulus check at the end of 2020 which is shown at point number 3 in the graph above.

In 2021, COVID had been around for a year. The medical field had gotten a better grasp on the virus, and people got more comfortable going out. Businesses also reopened their doors with measures to protect others from the virus. The demand for goods and products skyrocketed as shown at point number 4. In March of 2021, the U.S. Government issued the third and final stimulus check and on top of that, the vaccine for the virus was distributed to the public. Demand increased once more and hit its peak as shown at point number 5.

US Trailer Production
US Trailer Production Graph in Trucking Industry Slowdown

2021 was a banner year for Mytee Products. Demand was so high that production could not keep up with it. As shown in the graph above, production was down to reduce spending on nonessential products, but as the country began to open up and spend again, demand went through the roof and finally began to return to normal as shown in the first graph around point number 6. However, the world had other ideas in mind.

At point number 7, starting around February of 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine which led to a halt in oil shipments from Russia and goods from Ukraine, leading to a sharp increase in gas prices here in the U.S. and inflation on goods. With that, the hot shot segment of the industry has taken a harsh hit as they do not have the economy of scale as CDL Class 8 truckers to protect themselves from such an economic strain.

US Class 8 Sales / Demand Cycle
Class 8 Sales and Demand Cycle

The “sugar rush” of the industry is essentially over and now we are slowly coming back from it with economic pushback. Oil prices have started to settle slightly, and came down from massive hikes. We predict that over the coming months there will be more negative impacts coming the industry’s way, but the industry is still going strong, and expect it to return to normal in 2023.