U.S. trucking conditions appeared to improve between October and November despite weakening freight rates, analysts at FTR report. But the October readings in FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index were the weakest since April 2020.
Every factor other than freight rates was “less negative” than October, and freight volumes represented the only positive contribution.
“The outlook for trucking conditions has changed little, and we still do not forecast any positive readings for the Trucking Conditions Index until late 2024,” FTR vice-president – trucking Avery Vise said in a press release.
Recent slowing in consumer inflation isn’t expected to see any meaningful boost in consumption, he said.
“The industrial sector remains sluggish. Improved automotive output remains an upside possibility but only if vehicle sales improve and the supply chain remains stable. Slowing trucking job growth and carrier creation coupled with a surge in carrier failures likely mean the industry is starting to lose driver capacity.”
If that happens, trucking capacity could be tighter than projected late this year, potentially leading to stronger rates, he said.
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