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It seems that every day we are moving closer to an automated age. Many workers wonder if their jobs will be taken by machines in years to come. Those working in manufacturing and telemarketing have much reason for concern. There have even been talks of companies like Tesla attempting automate the trucking industry completely with self-driving trucks. Given this outlook, one may be led to believe that the trucking industry has an abundance of workers that must be laid off to prepare for the massive technological overhaul that surely must be on the way. This belief, however, could not be much farther from the truth. The trucking industry has been experiencing massive shortages, of workers and of capacity. These shortages have the potential to be devastating if trends don’t change or action is not taken.

The Facts

Right now the trucking industry is an integral part of the U.S. economy. The American Trucking Associations reports that more than 70% of goods consumed in the U.S. are moved by trucks, but the industry must hire an estimated 900,000 more drivers to meet rising demand (NPR). An industry analysis conducted by DAT Solutions indications that in early 2018, just one truck was available for every 12 loads that needed to be shipped, which is the lowest ratio since 2005.

Effects of Shortages

A shortage of drivers has the potential to cost trucking companies money. On their 10-K Financial Statements, J.B. Hunt, Marten Transport, Werner, and Knight-Swift Transportation all listed the shortage of truck drivers as a possible headwind for their business outlooks. In a competitive environment (which the trucking industry is) companies have inventive to pay their workers more. Doing so should encourage more drivers to join their firm over another. J.B. Hunt actually wrote in their financial statement that their expenditures have increased due to the difficultly of attracting skilled truck drivers.

Derek Leathers, CEO of Werner Enterprises has also said, “Pay in the industry’s come up considerably. Here at Werner our pay’s up 17 percent over the last couple years. First year entrants into the industry now make around $50,000 a year depending on what part of the business they go in. So it’s a good job. It pays well; you can build a family out of it.”

Given that 70% of goods in the U.S. are shipped in trucks, a driver shortage and capacity shortage affect other industries as well. Multi-billion dollar companies such as Hasbro, Nvidia, Hershey, Clorox, and Sysco have all cited rising transportation costs as causes for financial worry (Bloomberg, CNBC). If transportation costs are prohibitively high potential markets may be cut off and new enterprises may be prevented from getting off the ground. In some senses the expansion of the United States commercial economy is contingent upon the expansion of the trucking industry. If the trucking shortages persist, our economy will continue to bear part of the burden.

This is the first post in a three part series concerning the shortage of drivers in the trucking industry.

Personal Care  Transport is the only company in Pennsylvania that is licensed to transport truck drivers. With over four years of experience, Personal Care has built close relations with men and women in the industry and has a deep understanding of the training process. Use Personal Care Services for all your trucking-related transportation needs!

Post Author: Gary Grant

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