The trucking industry is at the heart of the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Census trucks transport over 70% of the value of all goods shipped in the United States.
Historically, sales of trucks have peaked and then steeply declined right before the start of recessions. In this chart, we see that truck sales started a pre-recession slide in 1989, 1999, 2006 and 2019.
But it is important to note that not every peak in truck sales precedes a recession. For example, peaks in 1984, 1995 and 2015 were followed by continued economic expansion.
The data come from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data on truck sales over 14,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight. These are vehicles that are categorized as medium- and heavy-duty trucks by the U.S. government.