ACT Research found that demand for Class 8 trucks remained high in November with 40,925 units ordered. ACT said it was the fifth best month since the research company began collecting data in the 1980s.

More than 336,000 trucks have been ordered since the beginning of the year, up 42.4% from this time last year. There is also a large, per-day backlog of Class 8 trucks, the largest since October of 2006. Class 5-7 medium duty orders did not keep up with Class 8, with 17,691 units being ordered in November representing a 3% decline year-over-year.

“After a strong run from August to October that was in part augmented by the annual school bus order surge, medium duty orders pulled back in November,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst of ACT.

Vieth also analyzed the impact of the 34-Hour restart provision rollback saying that he expected it to be positive for driver productivity and fleet utilization. However, the effect would most likely be temporary.

“The estimated benefit of rollback reversal is restrained by the change in practices undertaken by motor transportation operators over the last 18 months to comply with HOS,” said Vieth.

While the restart rollback is positive for fleet profitability, ACT expects the impact on truck productivity will not detract noticeably from the strong retail market levels they see coming for the next two years.