One Idaho lawmaker says he expects the national economy to start turning around in July, based on information he watches about the sales of new commercial trucks. Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, said Thursday that he thinks a recent rise in the sale of new and used semi trucks and delivery trucks could predict a similar boost to the whole economy. He owns a trucking company, which is why he follows economic data on large trucks.
“Whatever you see in truck sales, look out six months and you’ll find the effect of that in the economy,” Corder said, adding that recent sales have been good. “December was the largest bump in over a year in increasing sales. That meant that six months from December, we’re going to see that bump in the economy.” He said there was another spike in January. “There hasn’t been another decline since.” Corder said that means there could be a positive jump in the economy in June or July.
Corder said a drop in truck sales preceded the economic slowdown of the past few years. He said using truck sales as an economic indicator makes sense to him. “Nothing, not a single thing, moves in this country that doesn’t come on a truck at least once,” he said. “The freight movement ought to indicate what’s happening in the economy. When people are not spending money, there’s no freight moving.”
Corder said he’s shared his thoughts on truck sales with Idaho state economist Mike Ferguson and lawmakers that sit on other committees who work closely on state tax revenues and spending, and said he understands that there could be other economic factors at play that could speed up or slow down the economy. Corder gets his information on truck sales from Transport Topics, a trucking industry newsletter. A recent editorial on the newsletter’s website said that the nation’s economic tide is rising. That story mentions truck sales as well as opinions from industry analysts.
Economists keep track of other sales figures, including new home sales, retail sales, and durable goods orders, and use them as leading indicators to predict future economic action. Other leading economic indicators include the national gross domestic product, employment data, and the consumer price index, which measures inflation.
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