A massive shortage of truck drivers is hobbling the trucking industry. And this problem is slowly creeping into the manufacturing industry, as orders are left unshipped and logistic problems are everywhere.
Catching Up to the Economic Boom
The surging economy has left an over-burdened trucking industry incapable of keeping up with the greater manufacturing rates and increased job orders. Trucking companies are having trouble filling job openings for truck drivers with CDL or commercial driver’s license.
Lower taxes and deregulations, meanwhile, have empowered manufacturers, allowing them to hire more personnel and expand their operations. The strong economy also enhanced the purchasing power of the populace, leading to more demand for products and services.
Truckers are responsible for the transport of more than 70% of goods consumed in the U.S., and the added demand for goods meant more demand for trucking services. Trucking companies that have already been stretched out now have to contend with a massive spike in demand due to the booming economy.
ATA Seeks Lower Age Requirement for Drivers
The American Trucking Association (ATA) is supporting a bill by California Representative Duncan Hunter. The bill seeks to lower the age requirement for drivers to cross state lines from 21 to 18. This will allow fresh graduates, who immediately want to work, the opportunity to start their career in trucking immediately.
The ATA stressed that 21 is too restricting an age, as most graduates will much rather choose manufacturing or construction jobs, as they can start earning immediately, rather than wait for three years to start a trucking career.
A Dwindling Pool
Trucking is an aging industry. Experienced truck drivers are nearing retirement age. The vast majority of truck drivers are over the age of 35, and the average age of truck drivers is 55. New truck drivers are very few in number, and certainly not enough to fill the gap left by retiring ones.
The trucking industry is expected to need an additional 900,000 drivers to meet current rising demands, but with aging drivers and few new ones, meeting that demand is highly improbable.
Trucking as a Career
A career in trucking will require you to have a CDL and a few weeks of training with your chosen trucking company. Most trade schools offer courses and training for CDL, and trucking companies are eager to hire new potential drivers.
Beginning salaries for new truckers usually start at $40,000 for the first year, but this can quickly rise to $60,000 or more in the following years. Trucking companies are ardently competing for new truckers, offering better wages, more benefits, incentive programs and even sign-in bonuses. Trucking wages are consistently rising, and you can expect sharper rises as the bulk of all drivers reach retirement age.
The trucking industry is in dire need of drivers. With most of their drivers already at the age of 55, the industry will face massive problems in the next 10 to 15 years unless they can convince more people to take up careers in trucking.