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ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Utilization Shifts into Reverse in November

Posted by Jennifer McNealy on Dec 23, 2019 3:30:00 PM

For-Hire Supply-Demand 12-23-19The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with November data, showed relatively neutral readings on for-hire freight volumes and rates, with 51.5 and 50.9 respective diffusion index readings. With a slight contraction in for-hire capacity, the supply-demand balance remained in modestly positive territory for a fifth straight month. However, the Productivity Index fell to 48.4 in November, from 53.9 in October.

For-Hire Productivity 12-23-19The 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 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, Capacity, Productivity and Purchasing Intentions, plus a complimentary copy of our Transportation Digest report.

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst commented, “With some key caveats, we think the string of positive supply-demand results is a positive leading indicator for a capacity rebalancing in 2020. The first caveat is that private fleets, the other half of the industry, are not showing the same capacity discipline as the for-hire fleets. The second is that the freight volume outlook remains muted, with a soft manufacturing sector and trade-related inventory overhang likely outweighing relief from the China phase-one deal, which is yet to be signed.”

animation - 2019-12-23T153015.849He continued, “Tractor utilization has been choppy all year, amid soft freight and overcapacity, but the biggest surprise in this month’s survey was the sharp reversal in tractor productivity, a signal that while the freight recession is likely in the late-innings, the trucking industry is still staring at difficult conditions in the near-term.”

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. 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 62nd seminar is scheduled for February 11-13, 2020, and will feature trucker, electrification, and economic panels, as well as discussions on near-term demand of North American commercial vehicle markets and the pending impact of electrification on the market in the near future. A commercial vehicle database workshop is also being planned in conjunction with this semi-annual event.

Click below to: 

Access seminar information.

Access more information about ACT’s Freight Forecast, U.S. Rate and Volume OUTLOOK, please click here.

Learn more about other freight-related publications offered by ACT Research, click here.

Access November's For-Hire Trucking Index Press Release.

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Topics: freight, freight forecast, freight rate, logistics, ACT For-Hire Trucking Index, Press Releases, supply chain, truck freight, north american trucking, commercial truck and trailer, transportation industry news, trucking, intermodal, truck freight rates, demand planning, us freight, commercial freight shipping, last mile delivery, freight rates

About ACT Research

We're the leading publisher of industry data, market analysis, and economic forecasting services for the commercial vehicle and transportation industries.

2019 Lawrence R. Klein Award Winner: Most Accurate Economic Forecast 2015-2019

  Partner to LMC Automotive and the Chinese State Information Center

  Contributor to the Blue Chip Financial and Wall Street Journal Consensus Economic Forecast


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