FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) improved in November to -7.94 despite a weakened freight rate environment. October’s -11.16 TCI reading had been the weakest since the April 2020 contraction. The only positive contribution to the November index was freight volume, but all other index factors were less negative than in October aside from freight rates, which were the most negative since May 2020.
VP of Trucking
Avery Vise commented, “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. The recent deceleration in consumer inflation certainly is a positive development, but we do not anticipate that it will lead to any meaningful increase in consumption. 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 so, market conditions for carriers might outperform our current outlook starting late this year as capacity could prove tighter than reflected in our forecast, potentially leading to stronger rates.”