Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- Epicenter of the Economy

DSCF7709 smallShannon Newton
President, ATA

The transportation sector is the 4th biggest contributor to the American GDP. Research from the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that accelerations and decelerations of the freight Transportation Statistics Index precede the growth cycles of the economy by about four months. We sit on top of the economic fault lines, so when plates begin to shift, trucking feels it first.

Over 200 years ago, the three most powerful earthquakes shook the U.S. along the New Madrid faults, a seismic zone from Arkansas to Illinois. On Dec. 16, 1811, northeast Arkansas was the epicenter of the first quake. For over 7 weeks, more earthquakes and intense aftershocks rippled up the fault lines, and the convulsions shook awake people in Pittsburgh. Even Pres. John Madison and his wife Dolly could feel the tremors in the White House.

Since then, there have been hundreds of small quakes on the New Madrid. About twice a year, you might feel the rumble of some seismic activity, but it’s usually nothing damaging.

After the 1811 quakes ended, people were justifiably spooked, wondering when the next would strike. But despite the legend of the Mississippi River reversing course for several hours after the ground stopped shaking, this is just a part of living on a tectonic plate on Planet Earth.

Many in our industry remember the trauma of the Great Recession in 2008. For most of us, it felt like an earth-shaking event, swallowing up businesses and careers.

Though we’ve survived and experienced the strongest freight market in the past 50 years, the anxiety associated with its end seems to be growing.  A few recent lower-than-expected earnings reports, decreases in tonnage year-over-year and other indicators have some executives claiming we’re on the downhill fall of the economic roller coaster.

If you’ve been watching the headlines with piqued interest, I hope you’re planning to join us in Little Rock for our Annual Business Conference & Vendor Showcase May 15 and 16.  The best thing we can do during times of change is stay educated and engaged.

American Trucking Associations’ chief economist Bob Costello will be in on May 15 providing his insight on what’s happening with the economy and whether the tremors you may have noticed are false alarms or an indication that the economy is coming in for a soft landing.

We already know a growing economy doesn’t last forever, but don’t be spooked by a rumble here or there. Instead, lean in and be part of a community that will adapt through even the most ground-shaking seasons.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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