The Trucking Industry Still Has a Lot of Truck Drivers

It seems that recently there has been a fear in the lowering numbers of truck drivers. Many headlines have come out in the past year claiming that the U.S has a shortage of truck drivers. After reading article after article, it begs the question if there is a shortage of drivers driving long-haul trucks and delivering goods across America. Though the trucking industry seems to be doing fine, what are the real numbers behind this and what does the next generation of drivers look like?

Joining the Trucking Industry

Employment for truck drivers is said to grow 6% from 2016-2026. That’s actually the average for almost all occupations. Of course, as demand for goods increases, so will the need for drivers to deliver those goods. With the need for more truck drivers comes the increase in pay. Right now, drivers on average are making $40,000. Many companies use the high wages (some can easily make over $100,000/year) as a way to attract more drivers. Joining the trucking industry means being away from home, long hours, and working a lot of weekends. So, while the money may appeal to most, the solitude it requires does not. Does that mean there’s a shortage right now? Some will argue that it’s not current, but it will something to think about in the near future.

The Next Generation

The worry about truck driver shortages stems from the fact that the baby boomers that are currently working the tough job, are going to be retiring. When they all retire, what will the new drivers look like? Trucking companies and self-employed truck drivers are now heading to career fairs to talk to younger people, or people looking for a career switch, about joining the world of trucking. Getting those younger people is where the problem hits. Many don’t want to work the long hours on the road and be away from home for so long. Companies that offer short-distance delivers will have better luck employing more people once the retired hand in their keys.

So, while the trucking industry might have to change a little bit in terms of how long drivers are out, where goods are delivered, it seems like the amount of drivers on the road has made no real change. Notably, not enough of a change to throw the idea around that there is a shortage happening. The trucking world might start to look a little different, but younger people are employed currently and making deliveries nationwide.