FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index, as reported in the February 2012 Trucking Update, increased in December to a reading of 7.0—the third consecutive month that the reading has increased, reflecting an improving climate for truckers as U.S. economic fundamentals strengthened during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Capacity pressures from forecasted 4% growth in truck loadings alongside driver recruitment challenges should keep TCI in good positive territory throughout 2012. The Trucking Conditions Index is a compilation of factors affecting trucking companies. Any reading above zero indicates an adequate trucking environment with readings above 10 a sign that volumes, prices and margin are in a good range for trucking companies.

“Demand for truck transport continues to grow at rates outstripping the growth in GDP,” said Larry Gross, Senior Consultant for FTR. “We believe this growth trend will continue, barring an exterior shock to the economy such as an uncontained European default situation or a disruption emanating from the Mideast. Growth should be sufficient to keep the balance firmly in favor of trucking carriers throughout the year.”

The Trucking Update published monthly is part of FTR’s Freight Focus Series and reports data that directly impacts the activity and profitability of truck fleets. As part of the Trucking Update, FTR forecasts expected trends in this data and the probable short- and long-term consequences.

The February issue includes an update on Hours of Service regulation rollout as well as the impact of European debt exposure to the U.S. economy. For more information on how to subscribe to the Trucking Update or other publications within the Freight Focus Series, send an email to hlile@ftrassociates.com or call Helen Lile at 1-888-988-1699, Ext. 1.