According to ACT Research’s recently released Transportation Digest, the top line on the Class 8 Tractor Dashboard was unchanged in May, the third month of moderately downbeat readings.
“Our interpretation of the recent Tractor Dashboard reading is a gradual erosion of Class 8 market demand into the second half of 2022, but no ‘spiral down’ and certainly not a ‘cliff event,’” says Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “With a recession in 2023 now our base case, we think the dashboard reading, while negative, still suggests a better outcome for Class 8 than was the case in our last two recessions [COVID 2020 and the 2008-09 Great Recession], as supply constraints have kept the industry from overbuilding in the lead-up to the downturn.”
Vieth elaborates, “Disaggregating the dashboard, we see the most pronounced adverse trends in the freight segment, with four of five indicators in negative territory. The readings from the economic and ACT State-of-the-Industry data sets are more of a mixed bag of positives, neutrals and negatives.”
For readers who are new to this framework or want a refresh, Vieth adds ACT believes the dashboard offers a three to six-month forward-looking metric for conditions in the tractor market.