One of the more challenging questions industry economists are grappling with is the degree to which consumer spending shifts away from physical goods (that trucks transport) to services in coming months.
Often we look at building permit applications and new home starts as indicators of flatbed demand. Sales of new homes are another measure of demand for products, including building material and lumber.
February’s new residential construction numbers produced by the U.S. Census Bureau reported what many had expected. There was a drop in both building permits and new home starts, which will affect flatbed demand.
According to the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users, which represents more than 30,000 companies in the manufacturing sector, unfilled orders for steel in the last quarter were at the highest level in five years, while inventories were near a 3.5-year low based on data from the Census Bureau.
For flatbed carriers looking to gauge future demand in the building and construction industry, the Home Builders Housing Market Index (HMI) is based on a monthly survey of the National Association of Home Builders members, designed to take the pulse of the single-family housing market.