U.S. Truck Driver Shortage Is on Course to Double in a Decade
(August 7, 2019)
- The U.S. trucker shortage is expected to more than double over the next decade as the industry struggles to replace aging drivers and recruit more women.
The driver deficit swelled by more than 10,000 to 60,800 in 2018 from a year earlier. The shortage is expected to ease slightly this year as U.S.-China trade friction slows freight demand and after trucking companies boosted pay to attract recruits.
The relief won’t last as replacing an aging pool of drivers gets harder in a tight labor market, said Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. The shortage is most acute for long-haul drivers, where the average age is 46, and workers are on the road for weeks at a time.
The ATA estimates that 160,000 driver positions will go unfilled in a decade. In addition to increasing pay, trucking companies are trying to recruit more women, young people and former military personnel. Women make up less than 7% of drivers, and the industry is pushing to entice more with technology that makes trucks easier to drive and more comfortable.