Heavy Truck Sales Increased in January

by Calculated Risk on 2/04/2024 09:04:00 AM

On Friday, the BEA released their estimate of vehicle sales for January.

This graph shows heavy truck sales since 1967 using data from the BEA. The dashed line is the January 2024 seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR).

Heavy truck sales really collapsed during the great recession, falling to a low of 180 thousand SAAR in May 2009.  Then heavy truck sales increased to a new record high of 570 thousand SAAR in April 2019.

Heavy Truck Sales Click on graph for larger image.

Note: “Heavy trucks – trucks more than 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.”

Heavy truck sales declined sharply at the beginning of the pandemic, falling to a low of 308 thousand SAAR in May 2020.  

Heavy truck sales were at 485 thousand SAAR in January, up from 458 thousand in December, and down 3.1% from 501 thousand SAAR in January 2023.  

Usually, heavy truck sales decline sharply prior to a recession.   Heavy truck sales are solid.

Vehicle SalesThe second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.  Vehicle sales were at 15.00 million SAAR in January, down 6.9% from 16.12 million in December, and down 0.7% from 15.11 million in January 2023.Vehicle sales are usually a transmission mechanism for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy, although far behind housing.  This time vehicle sales were more suppressed by supply chain issues than Fed rate hikes.

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