The CCJ MarketPulse is a short survey of 200 for-hire fleet executives. Its purpose is to gauge fleet sentiment regarding monthly business conditions and concerns as well as hiring and purchasing plans. Here are the key findings from the March 2016 CCJ MarketPulse survey:
- Business conditions in March fell slightly from the previous month, down to 5.4 from 5.5. Respondents from fleets with up to 100 power units were more optimistic, rating March a 5.6 (5.2 in February), compared to respondents from fleets with more than 100 power units which rated March a 5.3 (5.6 in February).
- 7% of respondents said business was better in March than in February, while 22.0% indicated it was worse. Respondents with more than 100 power units reported the least favorable month-over-month comparison with 23.2% saying March was worse than February, compared to 19.2% of respondents with up to 100 power units.
- Despite the slight decline in business conditions in March, respondents remain optimistic about the near future, with 46.3% expecting business conditions to improve in the next six months, adjusting for seasonality. However, 22.0% expect conditions to worsen, a sharp increase from the 7.5% reported last month.
- Overall, 32.9% of respondents plan to increase the size of their fleets in the next six months, while 41.4% plan on replacing equipment but maintaining current fleet size. 9.8% of respondents indicated plans to decrease fleet size.
- Concerns over freight volume continue to grow, with 29.3% of respondents listing it as their top concern, tying a yearlong high from October 2015. Driver availability remains the top concern at 45.1%.