When you look through job websites nowadays, you are going to find a tight job market. Unemployment rates have been low for the past few years, and hopefully, those numbers will stay that way. However, there is one industry that is struggling to gain and keep workers – the trucking industry.
This is a fairly high-paying industry
Many truck drivers are now making well over $50,000, with some earning as much as $100,000 annually. On paper, this looks like a great deal, but America has a major shortage of truck drivers.
Why would there be a shortage in any well-paying job when the job market is to tight?
“I’ve never seen it like this, ever,” said Joyce Brenny, chief executive of Brenny Transportation in Minnesota. “It doesn’t matter what the load even pays. There are just not drivers.”
There are several reasons for this shortage according to industry experts, a perfect storm that is leading to major problems.
- The economy is doing well, and people are buying things. With a rise in online shopping as well as in-store shopping, the demand for trucks has grown.
- It is hard to find drivers with unemployment so low.
- Young drivers are ignoring truck driving opportunities because they fear self-driving trucks may one day dominate the industry and make them obsolete.
This is not a new problem
The US has had a shortage of truck drivers for years, but we are really starting to feel the pinch. Many people are just not willing to take on the life demanded by truck drivers. Long periods of time away from home and family can be incredibly hard to deal with for the young drivers the industry needs to keep up.
Recent regulation changes now allow drivers to be on the road no more than 11 hours at a time and their time is tracked electronically. That means there is really no way to cheat to get in some extra time – and money.
“It’s as bad as it’s ever been to find drivers,” said Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Associations. “Companies are doing everything they can to make drivers happy: increasing pay and getting them home more often, but that means they aren’t driving as many miles.”
What this means for the public
You can expect a severe truck driver shortage to cause a rise in the prices we see at the store. As companies are being forced to pay drivers more and as the cost of diesel rises, trucking companies are having to charge more to ship goods. This increase will eventually be passed on to the consumer.
American needs approximately 51,000 more drivers to meet the current demands the trucking industry is seeing.
There is a bright side, especially as the price of college continues to increase. Truck driving jobs do not require a college degree, and this is just about the best money someone can make without a degree. Perhaps this is the market to tap into for future drivers.