It doesn’t take a genius to know that Covid-19 has created serious, long-term trouble for the global economy, but there are countless clues about what’s been happening. Housing stats, retail sales and the number of people out of work all act as good indicators of what’s already happened.
But, if you’re looking for some signs about what the economy will look like down the line, then you should turn to the trucking industry for information.
Trucking companies can give a very clear idea about what consumers will be demanding in the months ahead. It offers a reliable indicator, giving a sense of where demand is growing in real time.
One indicator can be found in the volume of truck traffic on the roads. Volumes dropped sharply when the pandemic hit, but there are good signs of recovery. Daily lorry traffic in the UK was back up to 90% or above of what it was pre-lockdown.
According to analysis of data from the Department of Transport by the RAC Foundation, at the start of July HGV traffic levels were at 97% of their pre-lockdown levels.
And data also shows that the volume of traffic crossing the border between the US and Canada is also returning to near-normal levels once again.
According to data from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), commercial truck traffic fell to a low of 36.6% in April. In August, that figure was down less than 2%.
Coronavirus may still pose a very serious risk, but we’re beginning to break free of some of the economic calamity that came with it.
Pent up consumer demand after months of lockdowns and restrictions has meant that there is more demand for the movement of goods in Europe, the US and Canada. However, the picture may not be as rosy as it sounds.
There are reports from some trucking companies that they simply don’t have the cargo to move.
With many shops and restaurants unable to reopen post-coronavirus, the economy is a long way from being back on track. And with restrictions creeping back into our lives, the future of the economy will remain uncertain for some time.
We’ll just have to keep an eye on those trucks…