ACT Research: February’s Tractor Dashboard Extends Steep-Pitched Decline of January

According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the top line on ACT’s Tractor Dashboard in February extended the steep-pitched decline of January, taking the dashboard top line tally from double digits in January to zero.

“Not even in the days of the COVID shock, from January to March 2020, when the top line index went from negative five to negative 10, has the index fallen so far so fast. And it is important to note that the buildup in Russian forces on the Ukraine border had just started in January, so the threat of a conflict had little or no influence on that month’s result,” Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst for ACT Research, said. “Most of the softness has occurred in the metrics for the overall business environment — slowing in consumer goods spending (weak sales results for light vehicles), residential construction (inflation) and truck stock prices (impacted by higher global risk and Fed tightening). In February, freight indicators joined the softening parade, with fraying around the edges as metrics like the Cass Freight Index saw growth decelerate.

“Despite record carrier profitability and pent-up demand for all commercial vehicles, the corrosive effects of accelerating inflation and the Fed’s response increase downside risks to demand for the goods hauled by those vehicles.”

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