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ACT Research: COVID-19 Impact Most Severe Now, Potential for Recovery Starting to Emerge

Posted by Jennifer McNealy on May 22, 2020 3:30:00 PM

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the COVID-19 pandemic is having its most severe impact on North American, and global, economic activity right now. The report noted that the extent of the shock was a near total surprise to businesses and forecasters in the month of March, but by early April, the broad outlines of the plunge in activity and the potential for a second half recovery started to emerge.

In recognition of the virus’ impact, ACT Research has created an easily accessible COVID-19 MARKET WATCH webpage to track noteworthy high frequency macroeconomic and transportation-specific market indicators, which can be found at

The report, which combines proprietary ACT data and analysis from a wide variety of sources, paints a comprehensive picture of trends impacting transportation and commercial vehicle markets. This monthly report is designed as a quick look at transportation insights for use by fleet and trucking executives, reviewing top-level considerations such as for-hire indices, freight, heavy and medium duty segments, the US trailer market, used truck sales information, and an overview of the US macro economy.

“The short-term path for the economy, for freight, and for the heavy-duty market is pretty clear,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s President and Senior Analyst. He added, “Counter-measures, notably shelter-in-place quarantining, were deployed to ‘flatten the curve’ of contagion, but they have had a directly negative impact on payrolls and productivity.”

Vieth continued, “Freight initially had an uptick, with supply chains scrambling to respond to surging final demand as safety stocks of consumer staples, medical supplies, and work-from-home technologies were accumulated.” He further explained, “In April, depressed activity in manufacturing, construction, and retail, particularly brick-and-mortar stores, was taking hold, with the slowdown that hit freight in April expected to continue into June.”

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Vieth is, however, cautiously optimistic, that there is an end in sight economically, “Our best guess is that the third quarter of this year will mark a transition, with a gradual and slow recovery commencing late in that quarter or in the fourth, followed by a pickup in momentum into 2021.”

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at

ACT’s 63rd seminar is scheduled for August 11-13, 2020. Focused on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will feature dealer, alternative power, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of alternative power on the market in the near future. Both in-person and livestream options are available for those who wish to participate. Click here for seminar information.

Click below to access: 

Information about ACT’s Transportation Digest.

More information about additional ACT’s Transportation Publications and Services, click here.

April's Transportation Digest Press Release. 

Access ACT's COVID-19 Market Watch.

Access In the News Page.


Topics: Press Releases, medium duty truck, commercial vehicle sales data, truck market, north american trucking, class 8 truck, american truck and trailer, commercial truck and trailer, transportation industry news, trucking, heavy duty truck

About ACT Research

We're the leading publisher of industry data, market analysis, and economic forecasting services for the commercial vehicle and transportation industries.

2019 Lawrence R. Klein Award Winner: Most Accurate Economic Forecast 2015-2019

  Partner to LMC Automotive and the Chinese State Information Center

  Contributor to the Blue Chip Financial and Wall Street Journal Consensus Economic Forecast


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