Act Driver Availability 3 3 21

ACT: Driver availability hits new low

March 9, 2021
For-Hire Trucking Index at lowest point in three years, despite promise of more stimulus, recent pay increases

The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with January data, showed a Driver Availability Index that had tightened to its lowest point in the past three years.

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.

“The Driver Availability Index tightened to a new low in January, to 25.0 from 28.1 in December,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “We heard at our seminar (recently) that even the promise of further stimulus money has adversely affected carriers’ recruiting efforts.

“For the second straight month, this was the tightest reading in the three-year history of this index. Rising driver pay for several months has yet to impact the tight driver market. The surge in pandemic cases, which is now reversing, and extended unemployment benefits, which are set to be extended further, are also supply constraints.

“Though many driver schools did not re-open last year and school capacity will likely be constrained into mid-2021, rising vaccinations and pay should help driver school output recover, along with some recent news of new schools. Still, demographics and the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse are inhibiting driver re-engagement, though elevated spot rates and rising driver pay should have a larger effect going forward.”

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 12 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 visibility for the future of freight rates, helping businesses in transportation and logistics management plan for the future with confidence.

About the Author

Commercial Vehicle Staff

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