ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Trucking Decelerated, but Remained Strong in August

For-Hire Volume Index 9-28-21The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with August data, showed a drop in volumes and pricing, with a still-strong supply-demand balance.

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.

Used 9.29.21


Tim Denoyer, Vice President and Senior Analyst at ACT Research, commented, “Despite the Volume Index slowing, end demand remains strong and the slowdown is partly due to capacity limitations, from ports to trucks to trailers to drivers. With inventories rebuilding, strong US consumer balance sheets, booming capital goods orders, and infrastructure stimulus in the pipeline, the fundamentals of the freight cycle remain positive.”

For-Hire Freight Rates 9-28-21He added, “The pricing environment remains tight, but the Pricing Index slipped this month, likely reflecting a degree of capacity rebalancing. Though new equipment production is still challenged and freight demand remains strong, early signs of driver hiring improvements are beginning to change the recent recipe for record rate increases.”



Regarding the supply-demand balance, Denoyer noted, “This reading shows some rebalancing amid the overall tight freight environment, with a bit of easing in the acute tightness of the past 14 months. Class 8 sales are constrained by parts shortages and tight inventories, 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 quickly, but the rebalancing has begun.” 

For-Hire Supply-Demand 9-28-21

This month’s survey also included a question about unseated capacity, and it’s safe to conclude from the range of responses that there’s an above-average number of unseated tractors around the for-hire sector these days. He concluded, “The driver recovery is the key factor to watch, and our Driver Availability Index continued to climb again this month.”

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

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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