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February 2010 Newsletter

February 2010 Newsletter

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index climbed “2.1% in December, following a 2.6% increase in November,” according to ATA’s Chief Economist, Bob Costello. Additionally, the robust tonnage numbers were aided by “better economic growth, as well as positive inventory effect.  Compared with December, 2008, SA tonnage witnessed a [welcome] 6.6% upswing, which was the first year-over-year increase since September, 2008.”  

In the year-over-year comparison, December’s growth partially was due to a whopping 7.8% plunge in tonnage in December, 2008.  The Chief Economist forecasts that “the industry is moving [in] the right direction, but the level of freight will not be as strong as the year-over-year increases might suggest because of how terrible [the economy, especially tonnage,] was in late 2008 and much of 2009.  (Source of data:  American Trucking Associations’ website- newsroom, to be found at


In January, 2010, we are witnessing an ascendant pattern in SA tonnage following its five-year low in April, 2009. 



Unemployment rates for the major worker groups--adult men (10.2 percent), adult women (8.2 percent), teenagers (27.1 percent), whites (9.0 percent), blacks (16.2 percent), and Hispanics (12.9 percent)--showed little change in December. The unemployment rate for Asians was 8.4 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (Source of Data: US Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Among the unemployed, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up, reaching 6.1 million. In December, 4 in 10 unemployed workers were jobless for 27 weeks or longer.  (US Dept of Labor, BLS.)


These data suggest to some that the condition of this economy presents an inexorably dire outcome for the American workforce; however, many are calling for the Obama administration, together with Congress, to grant permanent tax credits for businesses that invest in R&D and to cut taxes for corporations in order for them to find innovative means to stimulate growth and re-hire the workforce.

Real exports of goods and services increased 17.8 % in the 3rd quarter, 2009, while imports increased 21.3% during the same period, according to US Commerce Department data.  Analyses are not yet available at this time for the final quarter.

The US International Trade in Goods and Services report—last released in late November from the US Census Bureau jointly with the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (US Commerce Department)—reflects deep concern over the continuing trend of shortfalls in American goods and services traded in the global market.  


Furthermore, “there are worries of a default in Greece and inflation in China,” warns Quincy M. Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial.    Those concerns—along with some analysts’ predictions that the downward momentum on Wall Street may continue—create a “perfect storm of uncertainty on a market that had already been a bit vulnerable to a pullback.”

Message from ACME's CEO

As defined by Webster; a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged.


The business world has long been focused on value and during difficult economic times, it seems that such focus intensifies.  Where does good service begin and end?  We all know what bad service looks like, but is there such a thing as service that is too good?  How can service ever be too good?  What is the value of great service and at what point does the cost of such service exceed the value?  Is there really such a point?  


For those in the service industry, the cost of providing service excellence is our cornerstone for success and in fact, for survival.  Many of our customers expect more from us as their organizations streamline and down size.  Meeting those new and expanded requirements is something that we appreciate and something that allows us to add value – that is, as long as the cost for providing such services does not exceed the amount that a customer is willing to pay.  


The value concept will always be something of a moving target, but it’s safe to assume that no customer will ever feel good about taking less service than they’ve come to expect from their provider.  That said they may be equally uncomfortable being asked to pay more even if their expectations have changed. It has long been our first priority to provide service that exceeds the expectations of our customers and to then allow the appropriate money be something that follows.  


With that value concept in mind, I found myself wondering if the Acme newsletter is adding any value.  We’ve been publishing it religiously for the past year in alignment with our new web site.  We’ve had most of it researched and written professionally to assure quality content and timely publication.  I would like to know if you, the reader, find it of any value.  I’d ask that you drop me a very short note ( with any comments you’d be willing to share.  As a small token of my appreciation for your feedback, I’ll send the first twelve respondents a gift card to a restaurant located near you.



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