BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rebounded marginally in April to a -0.64 reading.
Conditions improved slightly from the previous month, but TCI remains in negative territory as the rate environment continues to soften.
Economic indicators linked to freight are generally weaker, and FTR expects that the index will remain in a narrow band of negative readings through 2019 and into the 2020 calendar year, FTR said.
Details of the April TCI are found in the June issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published May 31. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section in the current issue includes an updated analysis of the current trade situation and the impact it is having on freight. Along with the TCI and “Notes by the Dashboard Light,” the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.
“Not that long ago, it seemed inconceivable that the good times in trucking would end, but here we are back down to earth,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Growth in manufacturing — the most significant driver of trucking activity — has subsided, and residential construction remains stagnant. However, there are some near-term positives, such as lower diesel prices. Also, carriers are responding to flagging demand by ending their hiring spree, which could set the stage for firmer capacity utilization down the road.”
The Trucking Conditions Index tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market. These conditions are: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price, and financing. The individual metrics are combined into a single index that tracks the market conditions that influence fleet behavior. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. The index tells you the industry’s health at a glance. In life, running a fever is an indication of a health problem. It may not tell you exactly what’s wrong, but it alerts you to look deeper. Similarly, a reading well below zero on the FTR Trucking Conditions Index warns you of a problem, while readings high above zero spell opportunity. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (both up or down) are warning signs for significant operating changes.
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