A positive sign: Trucking rises in Charlotte

The phone rings at Atlantic Trucking Co. a couple hundred times a day lately, and terminal manager Lee Montgomery occasionally logs 12-hour shifts, taking orders and scanning rate quotes from his office off Sugar Creek Road.

A cardboard sign, stuck in the grass outside, is another signal of better times: "Recruiting," it declares, in bold block letters.

Trucking companies in Charlotte and around the country are reporting a pickup in business and, as a result, hiring, as firms ramp up inventories and consumers begin buying again. Economists and trucking officials say the industry is a leading indicator - meaning more jobs could be on the horizon for the rest of the economy.

Some truckers remain cautious, saying they're unsure how swift the recovery will be, but for now, they're optimistic.

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