FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) for October, at -1.04, reflected improved conditions but remained in negative territory.
Freight demand was the principal factor driving the improvement, FTR said. While the industrial economy remains sluggish, strong housing numbers are cause for some optimism. FTR expects trucking to hold steady in a mediocre environment with the TCI hovering close to a neutral reading at least through the first half of 2020.
Details of the TCI for September are found in the December issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published Nov 26. The ‘Notes by the Dashboard Light’ section looks at the historical correlation between changes in housing-related indicators and recessions. Along with the TCI and Notes by the Dashboard Light, Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs and the truck driver situation.
“Although we continue to see high-profile trucking failures—often due to internal management issues—we see a generally stable environment for the industry,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking at FTR. “Manufacturing is weakening, but residential construction is firming, and job growth and consumer spending remain strong.
“While we expect little freight growth in most segments, volume remains solid by historical standards.”
The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the US truck market: freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing. The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.
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