Following a three-year high in the previous month, April’s volume grew slower, according to the latest release of ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index.

Despite the slowdown, ACT indicated that there was evidence of acceleration in the growth trend and April marked the seventh straight month of positive price index readings.

“Business was definitely better in April and we expect it to continue to improve. We are losing more drivers to local jobs and the oil and gas industry. Good sign that the economy is improving,” one fleet noted to ACT analysts.

Purchase intentions are elevated, with 65% of fleets planning purchases in the next three months.

“This is the strongest back-to-back reading since the third quarter of 2015,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT Research president and senior analyst. “Fifty-three percent of purchases planned will be new, with 5% reporting plans to lease the equipment. Four percent of the fleets not planning to purchase equipment reported plans to lease current inventory.”