ACT Research’s recently released For-Hire Trucking Index showed that driver availability has tightened to its lowest point in the past three years. In January, the Driver Availability Index’s activity level was 25, compared with 28.1 in December 2020.
For the second straight month, this was the tightest reading in the three-year history of this index, ACT officials said in a press release.
Constraints to driver recruiting efforts include a surge in COVID-19 cases, extended unemployment benefits and supply constraints. Rising driver pay for several months has yet to impact the tighten driver market, said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst.
“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,” Denoyer added.
The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat activity level is 50.