ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Rebounds Continued in June, Following April’s “Worst Readings” In History

For-Hire Volume Index 7-23-20

The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with June data, showed continued and significant improvement in the diffusion index measures tracked. June’s Volume Index rose to 70.4 in June, from 19.3 in April and 50.2 in May, with pricing and productivity at 65.2 and 69.9, respectively. Capacity remained stuck in neutral, hovering near the 50 mark.

For-Hire Freight Rates 7-23-20

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

For-Hire Supply-Demand 7-23-20

Kenny Vieth, ACT Research’s President and Senior Analyst commented, “The survey confirmed much of what we witnessed in rate data over the course of June, as the supply-demand balance tipped in truckers’ favor as the economy reopened.” He added, “While encouraging, we would note some transitory risks, one being the economic strength in May and June was heavily subsidized by Congress and the Federal Reserve. Additionally, June’s strong rates benefited from parked trucks and laid-off driver capacity.”

Used 07.23.20 (1)

Regarding the uptick in freight rates, Vieth said, “The strong rebound in freight volumes from April’s trough underscores the rapid move in freight rates, as the market moved from too little to too much freight relative to available capacity. The path on rates from here will be largely determined by the economy’s ability to hold the line on freight volumes.”

When asked about the overall picture, Vieth explained, “Shrinking Class 8 retail sales suggest equipment capacity will continue to tighten, but with sidelined drivers likely returning and lenders extending loans, it may be a while before the market tightens structurally. The road back might be a long one.”

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 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 63rd seminar is scheduled for August 11-13, 2020, and is being offered via livestream for those wishing to participate. Focused on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will feature dealer, alternative power, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of alternative power on the market in the near future.

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