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Welcome to the December edition of the Motive Monthly Economic Report, where we analyze the major trends in the supply chain and economy across the Motive platform during the past month. Keep reading for a front-seat view into key factors currently influencing the U.S. economy.

Big picture: In November, retailers increased their inventories in anticipation of the holiday shopping season, while diesel prices continued to decline. Despite this, the trucking market contracted further, potentially influenced by seasonal factors.

  • Though November had a slow start compared to last year, Motive’s Big Box Retail Index saw trucking visits rise closer to 2022 levels. November’s weekly average visits showed that the trend of delaying restocking has continued. 
  • Encouragingly, there’s a positive trend in restocking for durable goods, with a notable 16-point increase from the beginning of October through November. Diesel prices dropped another 5% in the same period.
  • Nevertheless, the market sustained its overall contraction observed throughout 2023, with seasonal pressures appearing to hinder new carrier starts and contribute to a rise in company closures.
  • Every dollar saved is a dollar earned for these low-margin, capital-intensive businesses underscoring the significance of exercising control over controllable factors.