The $800 billion a year trucking industry has been in a recession since the first part of 2019, but no one needs to tell that to the truckers. They have been watching their paychecks dwindle little by little for months.
Companies cut 4,200 trucking jobs off the payroll last month alone, mirroring the 4,000 jobs lost in manufacturing after Trump’s tariffs took their toll.
We are entering the “Trump slump” as a Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman put it in a recent op-ed piece. His trade war has proved so disastrous that Krugman argues, Trump “may well be the first president of modern times to preside over a slump that can be directly attributed to his own policies, rather than bad luck.”
In the case of trucking, some 640 trucking companies have already gone belly up in 2019, compared to just 175 that bankrupt last year.
“A sharp downturn in the trucking industry and a slew of tax changes have hampered their ability to make a living,” as Business Insider has explained. “And many connect those two trends to Trump’s economic policies.”
The smaller carriers in the spot market have been the ones taking the hardest hit. Owner-operators are calling it a “blood bath.”
“He has not affected our business in a positive way,” one truck driver told Business Insider. “He’s killing our business. If consumers aren’t buying, then there is no demand. This really isn’t about my political leanings — it’s pure business.”
Truckers that have been running the roads since the 70s are seeing drastic dips in their pay. Some making even 20k less than last year, but fuel and insurance costs aren’t budging.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley aren’t painting a very rosy future either, at least not in the immediate future:
“While there are some signs of hope in the data and expectations for a 2H rebound, we do not expect the damage in 1H to be undone.”
If things keep trending downward, the trucking industry may end up feeling the same pain farmers are feeling under the Trump administration.
America’s workers can’t take much more of Trump’s “winning” economy.