As worries about the nationwide shortage of qualified truckers continues on, large truckload carriers are sell struggling retaining drivers, according to annualized driver turnover rate statistics from the American Trucking Association.
The ATA recently reported that the turnover rate with large carriers – fleets with at least $30 million in annual revenue – rose one percent to 92% in the first quarter of 2014.
If a trucking company has 100 percent turnover rate, it means they have to replace the equivalent of their entire workforce of drivers in the course of a year in order to maintain stable operations.
Chief Economist Bob Costello, admits that number is pretty high compared to four years ago when the turnover rate was just 39%, but points out that it’s not the worst the industry has ever seen.
“Despite this dip, the market for experienced, qualified drivers remains exceptionally tight,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I expect, as the economy continues to pick up, we’ll see that market get even tighter.”
Small truckload fleets saw a slight drop in their turnover rate, about 1 percent to 78%, which was the second lowest rate during the past year. In 2005 and 2006, turnover averaged 96% and 109% respectively.
High turnover makes it difficult for carriers to operate efficiently, keep trucks moving and competently meet the demands of customers. Some say the industry’s inability to retain drivers is just a bit of economic growth away from being something of a crisis for carriers and shippers.
“If the economy continues to improve as we expect it to,” Costello said, “we’ll see competition for drivers intensify, which will increase not just the turnover rate and exacerbate the driver shortage, but will push costs for fleets higher as well.”