While FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index reading for May made a comeback from a “worst-ever” level in April to a reading of -5.19, it is still not doing well from a historical perspective. The increase in freight was mostly responsible for the improvement, since rates and utilization were still down.
“The spot market is the strongest in two years, which certainly suggests upside to our current outlook,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. “However, the recent increases in COVID-19 cases in some large U.S. states mean that we are not out of the woods yet as some states are moderating their reopening and many universities and school systems remain uncertain about their plans.”
Consumer spending helped May rebound according to freight indicators. A less-negative industrial production forecast is the main contributor to a firmer freight outlook for the balance of 2020.
“We are also concerned that the recovery to date is fueled substantially by unprecedented financial assistance from Washington and that further such assistance might be necessary to keep the economy on track,” added Vise.