The following metrics are sourced from truck driver recruiting campaigns managed by Randall Reilly. Recent trends are detailed below in an effort to review driver employment activity.
In the past 12 months, the network of unique driver recruiting landing pages maintained by Randall Reilly has been visited by 6.9 million users. Over 5.9 million users visited using a mobile device, over 880k visited using a computer, and over 130k visited using a tablet.
May’s overall average cost per lead (CPL) fell to its lowest point since January 2021. Through the first half of June, the overall cost per lead (CPL) average is down 4% from May due to higher conversion rates from an increased count of visitors to recruiting landing pages.
Preliminary hire data for May shows that average Company Driver hire costs (CPH) fell by 5% in May from April and average Owner-Operator hire costs fell by 12%. Lower lead costs were the main cause of the decreases for both driver types.
While inflation, high energy costs, and plunging equities markets are grabbing headlines, key economic indicators related to freight remain quite strong. As a result, FTR continues to project overall trucking conditions to be favorable for carriers through the end of the year. However, its current forecast is much closer to neutral between carriers and shippers than its predictions from Q1 of this year.
Click costs (CPC) are on pace to fall slightly in June on Search platforms and Facebook. Search’s CPC trend is remaining about 10% lower than a year ago, while Facebook’s CPC trend is remaining close to last year’s costs.
Display’s CPC is on pace to rise in May. The increases in Display CPC over the past year are a combination of higher CPC averages on major Display placements and a more significant percentage of the Display budget being allocated to a placement that gets a lower cost per lead but has a higher CPC.
May’s overall average cost per lead (CPL) fell to its lowest point since January 2021. Through the first nineteen days of May, the overall average lead cost is on pace to drop even further, but historical trends show lead costs usually increase in the last week of a month. Past performance suggests that May’s overall CPL will likely end up being close to May’s CPL.
All tracked company driver types (solos, teams, and students) are on pace to decrease by between 5% and 9%, while owner-operator campaigns are currently on pace to be the same as May’s CPL.
Preliminary data shows that average company driver hire costs (CPH) fell by 5% in May from April. The average lead-to-hire ratio (LTH) rose by 5%, indicating that lower lead costs are beginning to push down hire costs.
Recent lower lead costs for owner-operator campaigns are also bringing down hire costs. Preliminary data shows that despite LTH dropping by just 2%, CPH fell by nearly $500 (12%).
Landing page trends in May and June show why lead costs are down. More users are visiting Randall Reilly recruiting landing pages, and they are converting at a high rate. June’s conversion rate on these pages is on pace to be the highest for a month since August 2020.
In May, the number of job seekers for trucking jobs rose by 5% from April. The number of job postings and companies posting trucking jobs both fell by 4%, so competition for drivers decreased by 9% in April.
Comparing May 2022 to May 2019 (for a pre-pandemic comparison), this past month there were 35% more people searching for driving jobs (+515,000), while there were 117% more jobs available (+233,000) for these searchers.
While inflation, high energy costs, and plunging equities markets are grabbing headlines, key economic indicators related to freight remain quite strong. As a result, FTR continues to project overall trucking conditions to be favorable for carriers through the end of the year. However, its current forecast is much closer to neutral between carriers and shippers than it had been predicting before March.
FTR’s latest outlook for truckload freight rates is once again weaker than its prior forecast. FTR expects rates in 2022 to increase by 3.5% YoY excluding fuel, down from 3.8%. However, contract rates are forecast at +9.2% YoY, up from +7.5%, while spot rates are expected to fall 5.5%, down from -2.1%. So, this prediction indicates that carriers who rely on the spot market will likely struggle, but carriers who haul most of their freight on contracts will be better off than previously expected.
FTR still expects freight volumes to continue to remain strong and grow in both 2022 and 2023. They predict a 4.2% increase in 2022 compared to 2021, and they are projecting a 2.5% increase in 2023 from 2022, down from +3.0% previously. Since their last forecast, they have a stronger outlook for bulk aggregates and construction loadings which offset slightly weaker growth elsewhere.
FTR has also developed an alternate freight outlook based on its assessment of what may happen if consumers slow their spending on goods with inflation soaring. In this scenario, freight volume, capacity utilization, and rates would all weaken. And while those effects are meaningful, they are generally incremental. Most trucking segments’ loadings growth would drop by about a percentage point, which would leave volume quite strong. Active truck utilization would also drop some but would remain strong by historical standards. Weaker truck utilization would weaken rates, but the effects do not kick in until 2023. The total truckload freight rate forecast for 2022 is 3.5% growth for both the base forecast and the alternate scenario. But the alternate scenario gives a 5.6% decline in rates in 2023, whereas the base forecast calls for a 3.2% drop.
The share of seated trucks engaged in hauling freight is still above 97%. FTR expects active truck utilization to remain at or above 97% through 2023. Under their alternate outlook, active utilization remains close to or above 95% into 2024.
Truck production decreased by 1% in April as OEMs are still constrained by a weak supply chain. For trucks ordered in April, the estimated average lead time from order to delivery was 10.5 months. Demand for trucks continues to exceed supply greatly.
 June’s lead and hire stats are taken from campaign performance from May 1 to 19; all others are taken from June 1 to 15.
 Market information is taken from: FTR. “Trucking Update: June 2022.” 31 May 2022, FTR.