ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Metrics Moderating, but Still Healthy

The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with June data, showed a slowing in volumes, pricing moderating at a high level, and a still-strong supply-demand balance.

For-Hire Volume Index 7-22-21The 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 trucks@actresearch.net 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, Capacity, Productivity and Purchasing Intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.

Carter Vieth, Research Associate at ACT Research, commented, “June’s Volume Index reading declined, but continues to represent a still-healthy level, following an upwardly revised May, and with continuing lean US inventories, durable goods orders rising to record levels, and consumers enjoying record wealth and savings, the fundamentals of the freight cycle remain clearly positive.”

For-Hire Freight Rates 7-22-21He continued, “As volume growth declined, ACT’s For-Hire Pricing Index also moderated at a high level, ending six months of consecutive increases. That said, June’s reading is the eighth best since the survey’s inception in June of 2009. Developments in the driver market and freight volumes will be key to the near-term rate outlook. While spot rates may come under pressure from driver re-entry, underlying equipment capacity tightness supports a positive contract rate outlook.”

For-Hire Supply-Demand 7-22-21Regarding the supply-demand balance, Vieth noted, “While the bloom is off the rose in terms of the astronomical reading from a year-ago, June’s print continues to establish a new plateau that only looks weak in comparison to that year-ago period. Class 8 retail sales are constrained by tight inventories and unmet production demand due to parts shortages, so equipment capacity is lagging demand. With some structural driver issues likely to outlast the pandemic and a generally positive freight outlook, we do not expect the market to loosen too quickly.”

The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for the direction of truck volumes and contract rates quarterly through 2020 with three years of annual forecasts for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. For the truckload spot market, the report provides forecasts for the next twelve months. 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

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 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 www.actresearch.net.

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