FTR Associates is projecting further downward economic trends for the trucking industry in 2009, according to FTR information.

"The forecast continues to deteriorate," FTR said in a news release. "Latest data points to a bad recession with powerful trucking implications."

The company's latest truck market forecast has registered yet another downward revision to the near term freight and truck production forecast. Its four full quarters of economic shrinkage brand this downturn as a full-blown recession, highlighted by a four percent (annualized) fall in GDP during the current quarter.

FTR said a 1982-like recession would mean that tonnage would fall by 10 percent. "It follows that trucking margins will decline as well as equipment purchases, perhaps below the 75,000 level for US retail sales in 2009," the company noted. "The FTR Truck Conditions Index falls to a significant new low under the pressure of these forces."