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The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with July data, showed an across-the-board downtick in the diffusion indexes after a record surge in June, although most measures remained well above the 50 neutral mark.
July’s Volume Index fell six points to 64.3 (SA), while pricing and productivity were at 60.3 and 61.5, respectively. Capacity and driver availability were the two indexes in contraction territory, 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, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “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. Even before Hurricane Laura, which is adding further stress to the trucking markets, this driver shortage has significantly tightened the market balance.”