ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index Shows New Low in Driver Availability

According to ACT Research’s most recent For-Hire Trucking Index incorporating January data, the Driver Availability Index tightened to its lowest point in the past three years.

“The Driver Availability Index tightened to a new low in January, to 25.0 from 28.1 in December. We heard at our seminar last week that even the promise of further stimulus money has adversely affected carriers’ recruiting efforts,” Tim Denoyer, vice president and senior analyst at ACT Research, said. “For the second straight month, this was the tightest reading in the three-year history of this index. Rising driver pay for several months has yet to impact the tight driver market. The surge in pandemic cases, which is now reversing, and extended unemployment benefits, which are set to be extended further, are also supply constraints.

“Though many driver schools did not re-open last year and school capacity will likely be constrained into mid-2021, rising vaccinations and pay should help driver school output recover, along with some recent news of new schools. Still, demographics and the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse are inhibiting driver re-engagement, though elevated spot rates and rising driver pay should have a larger effect going forward.”

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