Drivers lack in trucking industry remains high
Although the number of drivers needed by the U.S. transportation industry in 2022 is down slightly from last year, carriers still need more employees.
The information was presented on Tuesday by American Trucking Association chief economist Bob Costello at the association’s annual management conference and exhibition in San Diego.
«We estimate that there are about 78000 driver shortages in the trucking industry,» Costello said. «This is slightly below the 2021 record of over 81000, but still extremely high.»
Costello said wage growth and other factors helped the industry attract new drivers. «However, this inflow is still not enough to significantly affect the deficit, especially in the long-haul freight transport sector, this part of industry was hit the hardest by the shortage,» he added.
The ATA estimates that over the next 10 years, the industry will need almost 1,2 million new employees to replace drivers who are retiring, as well as drivers who leave voluntarily (for example, due to lifestyle) or involuntarily (for example, long driving experience or a failed drug test).
The ATA report states that some of the main factors include:
• High average age of current drivers resulting in high number of retirements.
• Women make up only 8% of all drivers, well below their share of the total workforce (47%).
• Failure of some potential and current drivers to pass a drug test.
• Other barriers to entry such as minimum driving age, driving history and criminal history.
• Lifestyle, especially in trucking where much time you spent away from home.
• Infrastructure and other issues, such as a lack of truck parking space that causes drivers to stop before they need a spot for the night, and congestion that limits the ability of drivers to make deliveries safely and efficiently.
An important aspect is the increase of wages for truckers. ATA data, released earlier this year, showed that the average truck driver earned more than $69000 in 2021, including wages and bonuses. And this is an 18% increase in annual earnings compared to 2019.
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