According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking industry has periodically experienced driver shortages over the last 15 years. However, the current shortage of truck drivers is shaping up to be the worst in history. Below is some more information on this topic.
Figures from the ATA show that the current problem has been worsening since 2011 when the shortage of drivers in the trucking industry stood at approximately 10,000. By 2013, the trucking industry had a shortfall of about 20,000 drivers and this figure rose to 38,000 at the end of 2014. Worryingly, projections from the American Trucking Association show that the demand for truck drivers is only going to increase steadily in the near future making the shortage for truckers even worse. More specifically, the ATA expects the shortage of truck drivers to balloon to an unprecedented 175,000 by 2024 if the current trend holds. This will definitely cause huge supply chain problems across all industries because truck haulage accounts for 68.8% of all cargo transported in the US. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to resolve these supply chain constraints by shifting cargo from road to rail or use other modes of transport such as airfreight.
Some of the main factors responsible for the current labor shortage for truckers include:
1. Trucking jobs alternatives
The booming US economy has opened other work opportunities for people who would have applied for truck driver jobs. For instance, data from the US Department of Labor shows that the construction industry increased its payroll by 113,000 new employees in 2015. Additionally, ride-sharing startups such as Uber and Lyft have created job opportunities that were unavailable a few years ago further reducing the number of people who apply for jobs in the trucking industry.
2. Aging workforce
More figures from the US Department of Labor show that the average age of drivers in the trucking industry is 49 years. In comparison, the average age of workers nationally is 42 years. More importantly, younger drivers would rather sign up with ride sharing companies such as Uber or on-demand delivery startups such as Instacart instead of working in the trucking industry.
The trucking industry has a serious gender imbalance because only 6% of drivers are female. In comparison, women make up 47% of all US workers meaning the reluctance of businesses in the trucking industry to hire females has contributed to the shortage of truckers.
The US trucking industry is facing a shortage of drivers that currently stands at about 48,000, according to statistics from the ATA. Some of the key factors that have contributed to this problem include job alternatives, gender imbalance and an aging workforce.