The trucking and logistics industries are facing a tightening of capacity as demand for freight continues to increase. With the economy cruising along nicely and the newly implemented electronic log laws, trucking companies are finding themselves shorthanded and having to hire drivers at the highest rate since 2012.
According to the Department of Labor, the trucking sector added 6,700 drivers in March of 2018, which brings the total to 18,500 new jobs in the 1st quarter of this year. Alongside that growth has been the increase in logistics related jobs, such as parcel carriers who have added 5,800 jobs last month and warehousing, which has added 2,500 jobs respectively. Both sectors contribute the strong growth to e-commerce retail sales. Even with these strong numbers, there has been difficulties keeping up with the needs of the industry.
Companies are having to offer higher pay and better benefits to attract drivers. Commercial driving schools have been lagging in their ability to recruit younger drivers who seem to have an aversion to the trucking lifestyle. The numbers continue to reflect the aging demographic of the trucking industry, where the average age of drivers has trended upwards to 49 years old from 42 years old. Training schools and trucking companies will have to adjust their recruiting practices if they want to lure in younger recruits to help meet demand.
Customers are having these wage increase costs passed on to them, which has resulted in an increase in shipping rates. As unemployment rates are at their lowest levels in two decades, these challenges in hiring and training, coupled with rising costs, are expected to continue.