Economist to Pegasus TransTech users: Worst may be over

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The United States is not in a depression despite the claims of prominent economists, according to Clare Zempel, himself a noted economist and financial adviser. Zempel said serious economic challenges persist and there may be shocks ahead, but economists who claim we are already in a depression are wrong and even irresponsible.

Zempel made his remarks Wednesday, March 18, as keynote speaker for the Pegasus TransTech Users Conference 2009 in Clearwater, Fla. Pegasus TransTech, headquartered in nearby Tampa, provides Transflo and Transflo Express business process, document management and scanning services, primarily to the trucking industry. Its customers include some of the largest, most successful carriers in North America.

The theme of this year’s conference, the company’s 11th annual user group, was “Using Technology to Prosper in a Tough Economy.”

Zempel told the gathering that a number of indicators show the recent economic plunge may be bottoming out. Citing established economic indicators, Zempel said that residential housing prices are beginning to stabilize in much, though not all, of the country; retail sales have shown unexpected strength; and homes once again have become affordable for average American wage earners. Zempel also noted that demand for freight transportation, which had fallen in the fourth quarter, appears to be stabilizing.

Far from a protracted depression, Zempel told the group of Pegasus TransTech customers that U.S. business could see signs of recovery as early at the third quarter of this year.

In a panel discussion following Zempel’s presentation, Steve Sherman of Crete Carrier Corp. said that from his company’s perspective, the current recession has been under way for at least a year and a half.

Another panelist, Parker McCrary, strategic planning director for CSX Intermodal, said that despite the current downturn, his company is investing to increase intermodal rail lane capacity for the expected recovery.

“Today’s challenging economic climate makes it more important than ever to accelerate your cash flow and reduce your overhead,” said Bob Helms, Pegasus TransTech chairman and chief executive officer.