ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Omicron Slows Capacity Recovery

The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with December 2021 data, showed an increase in the Pricing Index, with slowing in all other categories measured.

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

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, Driver Availability, Capacity, Productivity and Purchasing Intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.

Tim Denoyer, Vice President and Senior Analyst at ACT Research, commented, “The Driver Availability Index

For-Hire Freight Rates 1-27-22

decreased 2.4 points in December, to 35.5 from November’s 37.9, reflecting the impact of the Omicron variant on both absenteeism and recruiting. Positively, Omicron’s case pattern appears more needle-shaped, and US cases have already begun to fall, so this wave is likely to be short-lived.”

He added, “Freight markets remain tight with elevated demand and Omicron impacting driver availability, and ACT’s For-Hire Pricing Index rose 1.7 points, to 72.0 (SA) in December from November’s 70.3.”

For-Hire Driver Availability 1-27-22

Regarding capacity, Denoyer noted, “The Capacity Index decreased 2.9 points in December, and while down from November’s reading, which was a 2-year high, it is still significantly above the trend of the past two years. Omicron’s negative impact on driver availability is affecting fleet capacity in the short-term, but, with extraordinary stimulus in the rearview, drivers have started to respond to significant bonuses and wage increases in greater numbers. That said, equipment production is still challenged, and the sustainability of the improvement will be interesting to watch in the coming months. Given the major supply challenges, we still anticipate capacity growth to be slow for a while.”

For-Hire Fleet Capacity 1-27-22

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 www.actresearch.net.

ACT’s 66th Seminar is scheduled for February 22-24, 2022. Focused on the continuous evolution and advancement of autonomous and powertrain technologies in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets, OUTLOOK Seminar 66 will feature key industry leaders from Ford, Transplace, TuSimple, and the EPA, with more being added to the agenda. February’s event features three panels (US Economics, Trucker & Transportation, and Autonomous Ecosystem), as well as a fireside chat with the EPA, discussions about fleet decarbonization, electric vehicle forecasts, and reviews of freight/transportation, Class 8, Classes 5-7, the US used truck and new US trailer markets. For information about OUTLOOK Seminar 66, click here

ACT’s commercial electric vehicle study, Charging Forward: 2020-2024 BEV & FCEV Forecast & Analysis, was published on March 31, 2021, after months of extensive research. Utilizing industry expertise and analysis, as well as the input from a comprehensive list of key industry study participants, ACT Research has developed a critical guide for battery electric and fuel cell electric unit build and sales forecasts over the next two decades. With coverage of Classes 4-8 commercial vehicles, ACT has identified 14 market subsegments and more than 20 application types; this one-of-a-kind report is a must-have for those investing or investigating electric power opportunities. To learn more or to purchase this report, click here

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