ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Capacity Tight, but Improving

For-Hire Volume Index 3-23-22The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with February 2022 data, showed decreases in the Volume and Pricing Indices, as the Capacity Index grew.

The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50. Please contact us at if you are a for-hire executive interested in participating. In return, participants receive a detailed monthly analysis of the survey data, including Volumes, Freight Rates, Driver Availability, Capacity, Productivity and Purchasing Intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.

For-Hire Capacity 3-23-22

Carter Vieth, Research Associate at ACT Research, commented, “The Volume Index fell 1.7 points in February, in line with our revised GDP forecasts for 2022, as inflation weighs on consumers’ wallets. The freight volume outlook remains positive, but COVID variants and the inflationary effects of war cast some uncertainty.”

He noted, “The Capacity Index rose from January to February, ticking to 52.4. The improvement was driven by more drivers returning to seats, after Omicron increased absenteeism in January, and truck manufacturers still building at slightly above-replacement rates in February.” Vieth added, “With equipment production still challenged, the improvement in recent months is likely largely about drivers, and the sustainability of the gains will be important to the 2022 rate trajectory. Equipment may soon surpass drivers as the top constraint on trucking capacity, particularly if Ukrainian neon-related production issues further strain the Class 8 tractor fleet.”

For-Hire Driver Availability 3-23-22

Regarding driver availability, Vieth said, “The pandemic continues to pressure driver availability, but with labor force participation gradually and pro-cyclically picking up, as more people respond to higher pay, the trend in driver availability should continue to gradually recover.”

The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for spot truckload rates by trailer type for four to six quarters

 and truck volumes and contract rates for three years for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. In 2019, the average accuracy of the report’s truckload spot rate forecasts was 98%. The ACT Research Freight Forecast uses

 equipment capacity modeling and the firm’s economics expertise to provide unprecedented visibility for the future of freight rates, helping businesses in transportation and logistics management plan for the future with confidence.

ACT Research is recognized as the leading publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. ACT Research is a contributor to the Blue Chip Economic Indicators and a member of the Wall Street Journal Economic Forecast Panel. ACT Research executives have received peer recognition, including election to the Board of Directors of the National Association for Business Economics, appointment as Consulting Economist to the National Private Truck Council, and the Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue Chip Economic Indicators’ Most Accurate Economic Forecast over a four-year period. ACT Research senior staff members have earned accolades including Chicago Federal Reserve Automotive Outlook Symposium Best Overall Forecast, Wall Street Journal Top Economic Outlook, and USA Today Top 10 Economic Forecasters. More information can be found at

ACT Research recently completed POWER UP, a look at 7 global regions and more than 20 countries in a review of local regulations, infrastructure, and the impact on the adoption of battery and fuel cell electric commercial vehicles through 2040. This forecast is the first of its kind, a review of the decarbonization of commercial vehicles around the world. POWER UP is available now at

Additionally, ACT Research published an update to CHARGING FORWARD, a North American-centric battery and fuel cell electric vehicle adoption rate forecast, covering 23 vehicle applications, in Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, through 2040. CHARGING FORWARD is considered by many industry leaders to be the apex of analysis and economic-based total cost of ownership modeling in the industry. And, it is now available for purchase at

Currently, the team at ACT Research is engaged in a commercial autonomous vehicle multi-client study. Through this work, we will identify adoption rates and forecast autonomous Classes 4-8 vehicles through 2040. If you’re working to understand the economic value proposition or the unit economics of different autonomous models, participation in this study is a must. Learn more at

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