The Trucking Industry Needs to Hire Nearly 90,000 New Drivers Annually to Meet Demand according to a new report from the American Trucking Association (ATA).
“In addition to the sheer lack of drivers, fleets are also suffering from a lack of qualified drivers, which amplifies the effects of the shortage on carriers,” Costello said. “This means that even as the shortage numbers fluctuate, it remains a serious concern for our industry, for the supply chain and for the economy at large.”
– Chief Economist Bob Costello
According to the new findings, ATA says the driver shortage eased in 2016 to roughly 36,500 – down from 2015’s shortfall of 45,000.
“We experienced a ‘freight recession,’ last year, which eased the pressure on the driver market,” Costello said. “Now that freight volumes accelerating again, we should expect to see a significant tightening of the driver market.”
The ATA is projecting the shortage to reach 50,000 by the end of 2017 and if current trends hold that shortage could grow to more than 174,000 by 2026! Such an increase could really hamper the trucking industry according to experts.
Costello detailed the causes of the shortage in the report, including the demographics of the aging driver population, lifestyle issues, regulatory challenges and others; as well as possible solutions.
“While the shortage is a persistent issue in our industry, motor carriers are constantly working to address it,” he said. “We already see fleets raising pay and offering other incentives to attract drivers. Fleets are also doing more to improve the lifestyle and image of the truck driver, but there are also policy changes like reducing the driver age as part of a graduated licensing system, or easing the transition for returning veterans, that can make getting into this industry easier and therefore help with the shortage.”
For the full 2017 ATA Driver Shortage Report, click here.