Driver shortage means increased job openings
When you’re driving along the highway or interstate, you may not realize you are in the company of people who help keep the country’s economy flowing smoothly. The many commercial trucks seen on the roadway are crucial economic components to business and industry — and so are the drivers who toil for hours on end behind the wheel.
Truck drivers are now in short supply, a situation that impacts the U.S. economy on many levels. Some experts credit this driver shortage to an aging workforce, high turnover rates, increased freight demand and “lifestyle priorities” that can make other industries seem more attractive to would-be drivers.
Economic adviser Morgan Stanley reports that about 75 percent of freight in the United States is moved over the nation’s roadways by roughly 3 million truckers. According to the American Trucking Associations, an additional 50,000 drivers are needed to meet deficits, particularly in the long-haul sector of the industry.
If the trucking shortage goes unaddressed, industries could falter, and deliveries may be late. In addition, rising costs of transporting goods by freight companies may be passed down to consumers. Industry experts fear the shortage may almost triple by the year 2026.
Analysts have said this problem has been festering for about 15 years. However, the recession that began in 2008 masked the issue, and when the North American economy strengthened once again, the cracks in the system became more apparent.
The trucking lifestyle isn’t attracting millennials and the incoming Generation Z individuals who are interested in a work-life balance, according to the American Trucking Associations.
If you’ve been wondering why prices on certain goods have steadily risen, you may have trucker shortages to blame. Transportation costs have been problematic for companies such as PepsiCo, Halliburton, Hasbro and Tyson Foods, just to name a few. Tyson has said freight costs spiked by an estimated $200 million in 2018.
Experienced truckers who are interested in finding work, as well as individuals who are new to this employment sector, may find that the odds of getting gainful employment are in their favor.
The demand for drivers has resulted in freight companies offering higher salaries, as well as signing bonuses for qualified drivers. Trucker compensation has risen as much as 12 percent a year in recent years, said Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Associations. That’s a considerable increase in wages compared to other sectors, which have barely budged recently.
Additionally, while current U.S. regulations restrict commercial-driver’slicense-holding drivers from operating across state lines until they are 21 years old, the introduced DRIVE-Safe Act would establish an apprenticeship program for individuals younger than 21 who hold a CDL to prepare them for interstate commerce.
Truck-driver shortages are affecting the nation’s businesses, making this a great time for those interested in a career on the road to sign on.