- Carrier optimism continues to rise as the year draws to an end, with the business conditions index rising from 7.1 in September to 7.3 in October. Month-to-month sentiment rose for respondents with up to 100 power units from 6.7 in September to 6.8 in October, while sentiment for respondents from fleets with more than 100 power units rose from 7.2 to 7.5.
- Half of all respondents said month-over-month business conditions improved, including 45% of respondents from fleets with more than 100 power units and 57% from fleets with up to 100 power units. Only 5% of all respondents said business conditions worsened from September to October. On a year-over-year basis, 63% of all respondents indicated an increase in business compared to October 2019.
- Half of all respondents anticipate better business conditions in the next six months, while just 8% anticipate conditions to deteriorate (down from 12% last month).
- 37% of all respondents plan to increase the size of their fleets in the next six months. 3% of respondents plan to decrease fleet size, while 60% expect to replace aging equipment while maintaining current fleet size or make no change in fleet size.
- In the first MarketPulse survey since the presidential election, the political climate in Washington (13%) has surpassed both freight pricing and freight volume to become the No. 2 top concern for respondents. Driver availability maintains its firm grip as the top concern for all respondents (70%).
- Respondents from both groups reported higher seated truck counts compared to last month’s survey, with 68% reporting 92% or better seated rate. 71% of all respondents expect to increase recruiting spend in the next six months, while just 2% plan to cut recruiting spend.
Quotes of the month
- Up to 100 power units: “External conditions continue to be very strong, but lack of available drivers has caused significant losses for several months, with little end in sight. We will be forced to reduce the size of our fleet to try to match costs with revenue and the number of drivers that are available in 2021.”
- More than 100 power units: “We have benefited from taking a risk and hiring drivers throughout 2020. We’ve expanded our fleet by 100 drivers. We are having to raise prices to our customers to cover the increased cost of driver hiring, retention and insurance costs.”