2023 is off to a strong start with U.S. consumers spending more in January than the previous months. American retail sales were up 3% in January compared to the previous month. This jump is the largest one-month increase since March of 2021. The increase in sales along with factory production improving in January could sway economists to raise their economic forecasts for the first quarter.
The numbers were impressive in January. New vehicles and parts sales were up 5.9% in January and restaurant sales were up 7.2%. Restaurant sales are generally indicative of how secure Americans feel about their finances as they will reduce eating out when times are tough. And unemployment is at a 54-year low with many companies still hiring.
The markets saw a surge in January but then cooled off in February reflecting we may still have some economic issues ahead. With inflation rates still high, and interest rates likely to increase even more, many analysts are still warning we could be facing a recession this year. The healthy start of the year has caused some economists to at least reduce their forecast for the likelihood of a recession but has not caused them to completely say it is off the table for the U.S. this year. The beginning of 2023 showed some encouraging numbers, but this could be short-lived as we face the reality of inflation, reduced supply chain volumes, and continuing capacity challenges.
The gasoline index increased 1.5% over the past 12 months and the fuel oil index rose 27.7%. The average U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $3.34 per gallon on 2/27/23 which is down from the average a year ago. And the retail diesel prices were $4.29 per gallon on average and slightly up from one year ago.
The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 3.4% in 2022 and was the largest increase since 2018, according to the American Trucking Associations. The last half of 2022 saw declines but hopefully the annual gains will be a good indicator for the year ahead.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 6.4% over the last 12 months according to the U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics.2 This was the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending October 2021. The CPI measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services.
Don’t Miss Us at These 2023 Events:
Simple Logistics is going to attend quite a few industry events this year. We hope to see you there!
Food Shippers of America Annual Conference
March 5-7 in Palm Desert, CA
TIA Capital Ideas Conference
April 19-22 in Orlando, FL
September 11-14 in Orlando, FL
McLeod User Conference
September 17-19 in Phoenix, AZ
Talk with one of our Simple Logistics freight experts and get a real-time rate quote for your next shipment. Visit us at SimpleLGX.com or call 630-385-7400.