Are Heavy Trucks Leading The Recovery Caravan?

Keep your eye on sales of heavy trucks, advises economist Anthony Vignola of Kidder, Peabody & Co. He notes that real business outlays on trucks have jumped at an 18.3% annual rate so far in 1992--the only category of capital spending except information-processing equipment that is in the plus column this year.

Significantly, the rise in truck sales coincides with a surge in trucking activity, with the volume of goods shipped up by 14% so far this year and 27% since 1990. Although changing inventory practices and increased trade with Canada and Mexico are bolstering trucking, Vignola thinks the gains posted by this highly cyclical industry also point to a quickening economic recovery.