Trucking Conditions Index Still in Negative Territory

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rebounded marginally in April to a -0.64 reading. Conditions improved slightly from the previous month, but FTR expects that the index will remain in a narrow band of negative readings through 2019 and into the 2020 calendar year.

Avery Vise, vice president of trucking, commented, “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.”

FTR’s 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. 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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FTR Trucking Conditions Index, April 2019