If you want a hint about the economic recovery, follow that truck.
Pickups are a kind of rugged indicator of the nation’s financial health. When times are good, contractors buy more of them to carry tools around for landscaping and lumber to build homes. Weekend haulers also gravitate to them even though cars get better mileage.
And lately sales have started shifting into a higher gear. Americans bought 151,000 pickups last month, 19 percent more than a year ago. Sales of full-size pickups, especially popular among contractors and builders, grew even faster.
In Lexington, John Blevins, who runs a heating and air company with eight employees, bought a new Ford F-150 XL pickup earlier this month. He needs it to haul furnaces and water heaters to jobs.
It was the first addition to his fleet of vehicles in four years. Even as his trucks and vans aged during the recession, Blevins let them go unreplaced. Now business is picking up, partly because of tax credits for energy-efficient heating and cooling.
“In the last two to three years, we downsized quite a bit,” he said. “We were holding off on buying anything new because we didn’t know what was going to happen.” (AP)