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Forecast: Fewer drivers

| June 09, 2011

Trucking’s well-publicized driver shortage will grow next year and beyond because of fewer new hires to replace retiring drivers, a smaller number of illegal aliens and regulations removing truckers, said an FTR Associates economist at an online meeting today, June 9.

Saying it will be “very negative” for finding new drivers, Noel Perry, an FTR senior consultant, noted that with the end of the Baby Boom generation, the number of people available to trucking to replace those retiring will drop to about 500,000 a year from 1.5 million previously. He added that tougher immigration laws will keep many other potential drivers out of trucks compared with the last decade. In addition, many truckers who were laid off during the recession have either left the industry or found jobs with other carriers, he said.

“It’s going to be fundamentally harder to recruit people before we talk about anything else,” Perry said.

Take away about 300,000 drivers who will be forced to the sideline because of poor driving records and the driver shortage will grow from about 150,000 positions this year to 300,000 next year and almost 350,000 in 2013, he estimated.

Perry said that productivity gains, primarily by shippers and receivers making changes in their operations, could absorb a large piece of the impact of the driver shortage. Yet, he said, many shippers aren’t convinced of the problem’s size and haven’t acted. That could change quickly if shortages begin appearing.

On rates, Perry forecast a 9-10 percent rise by the end of this year and double-digit increases next year and in 2013, including fuel surcharges. 

Fleets of 500 trucks and more have the money and are buying replacement trucks, but smaller fleets have less cash and aren’t buying as many trucks, he said.

  • Mark

    with all the over regulation, low pay and high costs of living on the road what do you expect,and as an O/O I can say for certain that this is my 3rd and LAST truck, I cannot afford to drive for a living anymore.

  • Leaving Trucking Too

    Im leaving trucking too for good hopefully. What a waste of time. Pay is crap as a company driver. May as
    well work at a convenience store and
    be home every night!!

  • Wade Tingle

    Mark,I agree100% I tried to make a living as a o/o and sunk about 40k in about 8months and had to park my truck. The so called gov. should regulate fuel prices, they want to reg. everthing else. Good luck in whatever you try next.

  • Sheilah Stevens

    We had to shut down our trucking business because of all the regulations, higher taxes, and cost of fuel. We have just about lost everything we are still trying to hold on to our home not looking to good. My husband is 52 years old has driven for over 25 years and in that time has never had an accident. Now we have to start all over again, done with trucking for good.

  • Leaving Trucking Too

    Leaving Trucking too!! Just a Waste
    of Time.

  • Mark Ulloa

    I’m not sure. I’ve been driving for about 12-13 years. Yes, I’ve seen the industry go up and down and as an O/O I am concerned about the high amount of regulations that are coming down, but I do see an upside. If there is a driver shortage, which the industry is pointing to, then we as drivers are going to have to receive better compensation. There should be more incentives to signing on with companies, which we’re starting to see already. If nothing happens then the industry will suffer. We nned to hold on and try to take advantage of our situation and get better pay and incentives to work for some of these companies. The ones that make this work is the veteran driver, not the new guy or gal coming into the industry. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.