Another month, another record for trucking conditions: FTR

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) reached a record high of 16.82 in April, surpassing the previous high in March. The index got a boost from lower diesel prices in April. FTR predicts solid freight demand, high capacity utilization, and strong rates will keep the index in high positive territory in the near term and in positive single digit ranges well into 2022.

“We have yet to see signs that the driver capacity situation is changing, and May’s weak payroll jobs data for trucking is one indication.

Over the next few months, one potential constraint – generous unemployment benefits – will end,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice-president – trucking. “While those benefits likely contribute to the hiring challenge, we are skeptical that their demise will fundamentally change the dynamic. Given robust competition for labor – job openings in the economy are at an all-time high – trucking’s capacity challenge could linger longer than usual.

One signal we are watching closely is the spot market.

If rates and volumes begin to ease, that could indicate a balancing of freight demand and route guide capacity.”