Our preliminary estimate points to a dramatic drop in the number of used trucks retailed per rooftop in June, at 4.9. This figure is 0.9 truck lower than May, and also 0.9 truck lower than June 2014. 2015 on average has been moderately weaker than 2014, and, if the estimate holds true, the first half of this year came in 0.7 truck behind last year. See graph below for detail.

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Severe weather had some impact on volume earlier in the year, but that factor was not in play this month. Instead, larger, more macro trends are looking more and more important. The ramp-up in industrial/manufacturing activity that led us out of the recession looks to be maturing, while consumer spending very slowly increases back to more typical levels. Unfortunately, consumer spending still lags pre-recession activity, and is not enough to absorb any relaxation from the industrial sector

We’re not saying there’s a slowdown in the recovery, as these factors do not represent the economy as a whole. At the same time, the trucking industry is still a primary canary in the coal mine for the health or weakness of the economy, and the freight environment is not predicting particular strength. We’re not overly concerned at the moment, but we’re keeping a closer eye on these measures.

Stay tuned for June’s retail pricing results early next week.