Ontario Trucking Association

Ontario Trucking Association

October 29, 2009 06:00 ET

Leading Indicator Trucking Industry Showing Signs of Optimism

Association takes cautious tone, says US economy, dollar are wild cards

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 29, 2009) - Want to know what's happening in the economy? Ask a trucker. The trucking industry is one of the best leading indicators of economic activity there is. Truckers are usually about six months ahead of the curve in terms of going into, or coming out of economic slowdowns. A recent survey of trucking companies by the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) conducted during the first three weeks of the fourth quarter shows that a majority (71%) of respondents felt that the Canadian economy has hit bottom - up from 52% in the third quarter survey. In addition, 64% said they felt the Ontario economy had also hit bottom, compared to only 46% in the previous quarter. The fly in the ointment continues to be the US economy, where a majority (53%), feel that the economy stateside has yet to reach bottom.

Similarly, while the survey points to growing optimism, there remains a significant level of uncertainty about prospects for the next three months. The fourth quarter OTA survey found that 41% of respondents had an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the quarter. Only 22% said they were pessimistic. This is a major reversal from the situation which prevailed at the beginning of the year where a mere 17% were optimistic and a majority (52%) were optimistic. Since that time the share of the optimists has steadily increased while the share of the pessimists has moved in the opposite trajectory.

Nevertheless, more than a third (37%) of the survey respondents are still unsure of where things are heading.

According to OTA president, David Bradley, "Obviously, there is a growing sense that the worst is now behind us, which is a very good thing. However, I would inject a note of caution and say that things are relatively fragile. So much of Canadian economic activity is dependent upon trade with the United States and if the US economy continues to falter, then we will be impacted. That, along with the value of the Canadian dollar, continues to be the major wild card in terms of the industry outlook."

Contact Information

  • Canadian Trucking Alliance, Ontario Trucking Association
    Doug Switzer
    Vice President Public Affairs
    416.249.7401 ext. 238
    1.866.713.4188 (FAX)
    doug.switzer@ontruck.org