The Weekly Report features all the latest trucking info on driver searches, clicks, freight rates, and more. Check back every Wednesday for the newest report.
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Welcome to the Weekly Report. For Randall-Reilly I’m Joshua Miller. It’s great to have you with us here this week. Let’s dive right in.
This Week in Job Board Searches and Clicks
Overall truck driver searches were down 15% WoW, up 16% MoM, and up 49% YoY. Clicks were up 1% WoW and 33% MoM, but down 42% YoY.
Last week saw a dip in searches but clicks held steady. This could indicate that drivers’ job search intent is on the rise. So far, this year click traffic has remained consistent throughout the month of January as opposed to the start in 2020 where we saw clicks peak in the first week of January before tapering off throughout the month.
These trends in driver interest and searches coupled with capacity being extremely tight, some would say it’s as bad as we saw in 2018, fleets should be prepared to respond with pay increases to get competitive with other fleets.
This Week in Freight
Truckstop.com load volume fell by 4% WoW, making this the second consecutive weekly decline. In addition to load volume dry van and refrigerated load postings both dipped as well. A 13% decline for dry van and a 9% drop for refrigerated. Flatbed volume, however, is at its strongest level since June 2018 as it rose by 2%. This marks the fourth straight week flatbed volume has increased.
The ratio of loads to trucks fell to its lowest level in seven weeks as truck postings increased by a mere .6%.
Spot rates fell nearly 6¢ to their lowest levels since August. Overall rates, however, are still up 29% YoY. Dry van rates are down 20¢ – their lowest point since July but remain up 35% YoY. Refrigerated rates hit their lowest level since July, down 24¢ WoW, but still up 26% YoY. And flatbed rates were up 1¢ WoW and 35% YoY.
Though load volume is down WoW it’s still way up YoY. With that being said, we’re looking for volumes to stabilize somewhat in the coming weeks. With the freight market white hot, retention should increase as long as you’re giving drivers plenty of miles, but … new leads will most likely be harder to come by. To compensate it may be a good idea to look for drivers in sectors that are currently down or trending down in freight.
That Brings Us to Our Story of the Week
It appears Chicago has been dethroned as the U.S.’s top freight market. With its centralized location and solid infrastructure Chicago was an ideal hub for distribution channels. However, trade wars, the ongoing pandemic, and a surge in Asian imports have driven a shift in shipping activity out to the West Coast, specifically Los Angeles.
The demand for foreign goods originating in Asia exploded in 2020 as large populations within the U.S. began working from home and adjusting their lifestyle in response to the COVID pandemic. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle nearly 40% of all the nation’s maritime imports.
In a more typical year a large percentage of freight would be moved inland by rail, but demands on depleted inventories, and overwhelming volume has caused much of this freight to be moved via truck – at premium rates.
Over the next year or so as things begin to normalize – hopefully – freight networks and shipping patterns will change to better suit the evolving circumstances. It is likely the Los Angeles volumes will dip once restocking is complete, but it remains to be seen if Chicago will once again lay claim to the nation’s top spot for freight.
Like any imbalance in freight, there will be winners and losers. The winners will make more on typically lower cost freight as people are willing to pay premium rates to minimize disruption in the supply chain.
That’s all we have for you this week. We hope the information is useful to you and we look forward to seeing you right back here next week for a new Weekly Report when we’ll once again take a look back to help you move forward. Have a great week everybody.