Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, many companies were faced with a shortage of CDL drivers. With layoffs and unemployment at a record high, it is logical to think that there would be a lot more people stepping in to fill the truck driver shortage. However, going into 2021 that is not the case and the industry is still hurting for drivers.
After unprecedented gains in 2020, which were overshadowed by COVID-19, many in the trucking industry are excited about the outlook for 2021. The trucking industry expects to see an increase in sectors such as final-mile delivery, contracting, home improvement, and overall E-commerce. The American Trucking Associations, Chief Economist Bob Costello says, “I think freight will remain decent in 2021. On the good side, the vaccine will help return to ‘normal,’ which means sectors that are currently hurting like services and manufacturing can bounce back”. This is great news for an industry that at the start of this pandemic in 2020 saw sales of Class 8 trucks fall by 24.3% in the first quarter, and 51.2% in the second quarter.
Since 2010 the number of female truck drivers has increased by 68 percent. While the vast majority of drivers are men, women are often-overlooked candidates who can also excel in these roles. Companies in the trucking industry have struggled to fill open positions, and the problem continues to grow because of high turnover, retirement and increased demand for goods. In 2018, the national trucker shortage was 60,800, by 2028 they are projecting 160,000 open positions within the trucking industry.