January orders were down 17 percent from December and 9 percent lower than January 2011, FTR Associates said.
ACT Research said the final number will approach 30,100 units.
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FTR described the current environment for shippers as stable through early next year.
Trucking will not be able to restore quickly the driver and truck capacity it lost during the recession.
FTR Associates said orders were down 22 percent from the same month a year earlier.
Index softened primarily due to further delay in the issuance of revised hours-of-service regulations.
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