Freight Market Update

The State of Freight

Posted on September 28, 2023

According to a senior logistics executive, the freight industry has been in recession for the past 12 months and bottomed out a few months ago. However, this recession is not due to an unusual lack of demand (current demand is roughly equivalent to 2018 levels). Instead, it’s a result of transitioning down from an unusually high demand and tight market. Rather than precipitating catastrophe, the recent bankruptcy of trucking giant, Yellow, last month revealed that current freight capacity is large enough to pick up the slack without issue.

On a high level, the freight market is experiencing the same “pendulum swing” that we are – what HARDI’s Brian Loftus called “normalization.”

Freight Producer Price Index (left), and 12/12 & 3/12 trend (right). 3/12 showing bottoming as of last month.


Professor of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University, Jason Miller, points to a number of indicators showing that many factors of the economy, rather than crashing, are merely returning to the pre-COVID trend.

  • Inflation – getting under control
  • Layoffs – not increasing
  • Credit Card Debt & # of Accounts – sharp increase after COVID but back to trend
  • Delinquencies on Credit Cards – above COVID levels but still historically low
  • Delinquencies on Mortgages – low and back to downtrend
  • Wage Growth – indicating job market is still tight
  • E-commerce – share of overall sales returned to trend

Market experts expect a gradual recovery of the freight market over the next 6-8 months despite economists’ expectations of a general market recession heading into 2024.

Joseph Carboni
Marketing, Operations & Technology Manager
Shupe Carboni & Associates