ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index for July highlights driver shortage

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According to ACT Research’s latest For-Hire Trucking Index, capacity and driver-availability indexes both dropped, coming in at 48.1 and 39.3, respectively, both below the neutral point of 50.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index, which includes data for July, showed an across-the-board downtick in the diffusion indexes after a record surge in June, although most measures remained well above the neutral mark of 50. July’s seasonally adjusted volume index fell six points to 64.3, while pricing and productivity were at 60.3 and 61.5, respectively.

Capacity and driver availability indexes both contracted, coming in at 48.1 and 39.3, respectively — highlighting that driver capacity is tighter than equipment capacity.

“The sharp drop in driver availability as freight volumes are recovering explains the need for higher rates that we’re seeing in the spot market,” said Tim Denoyer, vice president and senior analyst for ACT Research.

“Consistent with industry estimates that CDL issuance this year is tracking about 40% below normal levels, the driver index has tightened sharply. We see this as the primary capacity constraint presently, as equipment remains available at this point,” he continued. “Even before Hurricane Laura, which is adding further stress to the trucking markets, this driver shortage has significantly tightened the market balance.”

ACT Research’s monthly For-Hire Trucking index is a survey of trucking-service providers. Responses are converted into diffusion indexes, where the neutral, or “flat,” activity level is 50. For-hire executives who want to participate in the survey can send queries to [email protected]. Survey participants receive a detailed monthly analysis of the survey data, including volumes, freight rates, capacity and productivity and purchasing intentions, plus a complimentary copy of ACT’s Transportation Digest report.

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