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ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index Highlights New Low in Driver Availability

March 08, 2021, 07:05 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

The latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index, with January data, showed a Driver Availability Index that has 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.

Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, said, “The Driver Availability Index tightened to a new low in January, to 25.0 from 28.1 in December. We heard at our seminar last week that even the promise of further stimulus money has adversely affected carriers’ recruiting efforts.”

He added, “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.”

Denoyer also noted, “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.”

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