According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the number of truckers out on the road is at an all-time high. However, the driver shortage still appears to be an issue. In fact, Census numbers are showing more truckers now that before the recession in 2007. Where is the disconnect?
“It’s not that the number of truck drivers has been in a constant decline. It’s just that it’s not growing enough to match up with what has been needed in demand, “ stated American Trucking Association’s Chief Economist Bob Costello. In fact the ATA believes that the trucking industry is still short 50,000 drivers.
For the trucking industry specifically, the issue may run a little deeper that just not having enough truckers to fill the available need. For instance, the driver shortage tends to mainly focus on a lack of long-haul or OTR drivers, not just any licensed driver. These types of position are historically more difficult to fill simply due to the idea of being away from home for longer periods of time. Enticing new drivers in the door where they may have to commit being away from home for a week or more at a time is a hard sell. In addition, the trucking industry faces additional obstacles such as federal laws that prohibit potential candidates between the age of 18 to 20 from driving Class 8 commercial motor vehicles across state lines, cutting into the already depleted talent pool available. The main problem here is that this removes the possibility of students looking at trucking as a long-term career right out of high school.
However, the Census Bureau has indicated that truckers who are under the age of 35 represent more women and minorities that those over the age of 55. With that said, even today over 90% of drivers are men. This simply means that the presence of more diversity in the industry in the younger generations is promising for the trucking industry in the long-run but as it sits today, the driver shortage is still more than prevalent. With online retailer giants like Amazon and Walmart constantly pushing for faster deliveries in a instant gratification society, the push for more logistic personnel will continue to be a struggle for distribution and logistics companies nationwide. For more details on what industry experts have to say, please check out www.ttnews.com.
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