The Driver Shortage

Truck drivers are the basic unit of transportation capacity and the glue that holds supply chains together. No container or straight truck or trailer moves without, at some point, a truck driver. Even so, trucking companies, especially truckload carriers, often have great difficulty finding, hiring and keeping drivers. Nearly every period of economic growth is accompanied by a driver "shortage," including the recovery that began in 2009.

What's causing the driver shortage?

Is today’s shortage truly a demographic lack of available qualified drivers, or is it a market shortage created by comparatively low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions? How will federal regulations governing licensing, medical testing, safety enforcement and how long drivers may work affect demand and supply? Unless trucking companies, logistics providers and shippers work together to finally resolve trucking’s “driver problem,” transportation and logistics costs will rise substantially, and supply chains will be put at risk.

Read more:

10 Reasons for Driver Turnover and What Carriers Can Do About It


Larger US truckload carriers still adding drivers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Jul 19, 2022, 4:41 PM EDT

Marten Transport increased its driver pool by more than 15 percent year over year in the second quarter, as the truckload carrier and its competitors seek to balance capacity, freight demand, and profitability.

US trucking’s hiring surge gaining momentum

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Jun 3, 2022, 2:29 PM EDT

The addition of 22,500 trucking employees in May after a 14,900-gain in real jobs in April reveals a trucking sector confident in continuing freight demand as markets realign in 2022.
LTLTrucking labor

Transportation hiring, but not trucking, surged in November

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Dec 7, 2021, 4:35 PM EST

The for-hire trucking industry lost jobs in November, as it typically does, but fewer than anticipated as couriers and warehouses grabbed the most new employees amid strong pre-holiday demand.
LTLTrucking labor

Truck drivers likely exempt from vaccine mandate: ATA

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Nov 8, 2021, 2:18 PM EST

An exemption to the US’ large employer vaccine mandate granted to outdoor workers may cover truck drivers, the American Trucking Association argues. But it’s not clear that exemption would apply to all types of truck drivers.
Transport, trade and regulationTrucking

US transportation hiring exceeds expectations

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Nov 5, 2021, 3:54 PM EDT

Bigger than expected gains in warehousing and trucking in October are welcome amid ongoing reports of labor shortages.
LTLTrucking laborTruckload

US vaccine mandate to impact truck rates, capacity

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Nov 5, 2021, 12:01 PM EDT

The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate for large employers will affect truck capacity and pricing, but questions about the extent of its impact remain.
LTLTrucking laborTruck brokersTruckload

Little relief seen for US domestic shippers in 2022

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Oct 13, 2021, 8:00 AM EDT

A reallocation of assets and workers across the transportation landscape, combined with inventory rebuilding, complicates the outlook for US shippers in 2022, speakers told the JOC Inland Distribution webcast.

Trucking loses jobs amid warehousing, transit gains

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Oct 8, 2021, 3:22 PM EDT

The for-hire trucking industry lost 1,600 jobs last month, but the Labor Department expected a bigger drop, as transit, warehousing and courier employment surged.
LTLTrucking laborTruckload

Transportation hiring surges as US peak season begins

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Sep 3, 2021, 12:04 PM EDT

A stronger than expected round of hiring in August brought transportation and warehousing payrolls back to pre-pandemic levels, but new employees aren’t distributed evenly.
LTLTrucking labor

Shippers can create truck capacity by better managing time: MIT

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Aug 29, 2021, 8:00 AM EDT

Instead of waiting for autonomous trucks, shippers starving for capacity should automate processes starting with freight pickup and delivery to save drivers time, says MIT FreightLab’s co-director.
LTLTruck brokersTruckload

Record number of new US trucking firms on the books, but not new capacity

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Jul 14, 2021, 4:34 PM EDT

An ‘unprecedented’ number of new motor carriers is hitting US roads, but they represent a shift in capacity, not an expansion, according to experts.
LTLTrucking laborTruckload

US truckers hike fees on excessive dwells for trailers, containers

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 7, 2021, 2:37 PM EDT

Top trucking and intermodal providers are raising penalties on shippers who do not promptly unload and return 53-foot trailers or containers.

Drayage demand at record levels in Southeast amid import surge

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Jun 4, 2021, 4:13 PM EDT

Drayage capacity from Southeastern US ports is so low right now that ocean carriers, NVOCCs, and shippers are scouring to locate small truck carriers on the spot market and paying extra to get their loads hauled.

US trucking firms add jobs, but not enough of them

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Jun 4, 2021, 3:05 PM EDT

The US for-hire trucking industry has added 25,100 jobs over the past three months, but the US economy appears to be expanding faster than trucking recruiters can hire workers.
LTLTrucking laborTruck brokers

Dallas intermodal ramp flows recover after paralyzing winter storm

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 26, 2021, 1:44 PM EDT

After a rough six-week period following the paralyzing February snowstorm in Texas, intermodal terminals are operating with fewer delays in Dallas-Fort Worth, with chassis available and driver productivity bucking national trends.
North-American railDrayage

US drayage drivers quitting as rail ramp congestion crimps pay

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | May 19, 2021, 4:38 PM EDT

An exodus of drayage drivers to the flatbed and dry van truckload sectors is further limiting already constrained capacity and equipment availability in key inland markets.

US warehouses, couriers struggling to hire workers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | May 12, 2021, 3:11 PM EDT

Transportation and warehousing firms losing employees may be competing more often with contractor-based gig economy businesses; trucking, however, is expanding its payroll.
LTLTrucking labor

US truckers speeding less, but those who do go faster

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Apr 26, 2021, 6:05 PM EDT

Despite a sharp overall drop in the number of truck driver speeding violations last year, excessive speeding remains a problem, FMCSA violations data show.
TruckingTrucking labor

Kansas City rail terminals overwhelmed with ocean containers

Ari Ashe, Senior Editor | Apr 19, 2021, 4:10 PM EDT

Intermodal service in Kansas City is a “complete mess,” according to three cargo owners, with an import surge causing chassis shortages and restrictions on what containers can be picked up or dropped off at rail terminals.
Intermodal providers

Small trucking firm aims for ‘sustainable’ approach to driver pay

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor | Apr 6, 2021, 4:37 PM EDT

Alabama-based truckload carrier AMX is raising driver pay, but wants to do so in a way that will allow the carrier to maintain increased wages when demand – and rates – recede.
Trucking laborTruckload