The domino-effect of the driver shortage may be a benefit to drivers. FTR Associates Managing Director Noel Perry says that the national driver shortage should increase average driver pay by 5%, or raise annual pay $40,000 to $50,000.
While this may be good news to some drivers, the shortage is not good for shippers and receivers. The cost of freight and the wait-time is expected to rise, as well.
There’s no relief in sight. Next year, the number of hours a driver is allowed to drive will decrease. The loss of drivable hours will force carriers to hire more drivers. Additionally, as baby boomers leave the workforce, there are fewer in line to take their places.
“It’s getting harder to get drivers,” Mike Card, president of Combined Transport of Central Point, Ore., and incoming chairman of the American Trucking Associations told USA Today. “I could hire 50 guys right now.”
Unemployment currently stands at 8.2%, and many have yet to find a new job. Those currently receiving unemployment typically cannot afford the $4,000-$6,000 CDL course.
“Driver shortages are effectively limiting truck capacity and helping push up freight rates by 2 percent to 5 percent this year, despite the sluggish economy, says analyst Benjamin Hartford of research firm R.W. Baird. Also driving up rates are rising wages and truck prices that have increased as much as 40 percent the past few years because of modernized engines that must meet tougher emissions rules.
“Card of Combined Transport says 10 percent of his deliveries are one or two days late because he doesn’t have enough drivers,” USA Today reported.
Many carriers are hosting job fairs in hopes of recruiting new drivers, but is that enough? Drivers, how should companies help combat driver shortage? Should they offer to pay for CDL courses for new drivers, or should the be more open to hiring newer drivers?