The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: March 24, 2008

ATA Predicts Record-High Diesel Prices in ’08

The American Trucking Association announced it is projecting record-high diesel fuel prices in 2008. The association said the trucking industry will spend $135 billion on fuel, based on current fuel price forecasts. This is $22 billion more than in 2007.
Historically, according to the ATA, fuel represented the second-highest operating expense for motor carriers, accounting for as much as 25% of total operating costs. For some carriers, however, fuel is starting to surpass labor as the largest expense.
The cost to fill the fuel tanks on a typical tractor trailer has increased 116%, or $615, in just five years, according to the ATA. Because trucks haul 70% of all freight tonnage, the ATA says, rising fuel costs have the potential to increase ...

Canadian Manufacturers: Slight Lift in Sales

Source: Statistics Canada,
Canadian manufacturers started 2008 with a modest but positive lift in sales. Manufacturing sales increased by 1.3% in January to $49.3 billion, as the sector struggled to spring back from the three-year low posted in December (-3.7%).
Notwithstanding January's increase, manufacturing sales, which have been trending downward for much of the last year, remained 7.1% below the recent peak reached in March 2007 ($53.1 billion) and with the exception of the previous month, January 2008 marked the lowest sales level since March of 2005.

Much of the weakness continued to come from the motor vehicle and parts ...

Actuant Core Sales Growth at 4% in 2Q

Actuant Corp., Milwaukee, WI, reported sales for its second quarter ended Feb. 29, 2008, were up 17% to $400 million, with 4% core sales growth.

Sales for the first half were $815 million, up 19%. Core sales increased 4%. Net earnings for the six months rose 13% to $49.7 million.

Second quarter fiscal 2008 Industrial segment sales increased 36% to $131 million. Industrial segment core sales grew 16% driven by continued strong global demand for joint integrity products and services for the oil &gas and power generation markets, as well as high-force hydraulic tools.
Electrical segment sales increased 6% to $131 million in the quarter. Core sales declined 6% reflecting weaker demand from DIY, marine and transformer customers.
Actuation ...

Berkshire Hathaway Completes Purchase of 60% of Marmon

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has completed its acquisition of 60% of Marmon for $4.5 billion. As previously reported, the remaining 40% of Marmon that is currently owned by trusts for the benefit of members of the Pritzker Family of Chicago will be acquired through staged acquisitions over a five to six year period for consideration to be based on the future earnings of Marmon.

Marmon Group is an international association of more than 125 manufacturing and service businesses that operate independently within diverse business sectors.

These sectors are Wire &Cable, serving energy related markets, residential and non-residential construction and other industries; Transportation Services &Engineered Products, including railroad tank cars and intermodal tank containers; ...