According to a 2005 study published by the American Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking industry expects to hire about 80,000 new drivers every year for 10 years.1 On October 22, 2013, Bob Costello, Chief Economist for the American trucking Association updated these numbers with a press release detailing the continued need for qualified entry level truck drivers, and said fleets are adjusting to continued tightness in the driver market by increasing pay and hiring new drivers.4 The industry needs to find an average of roughly 96,000 new drivers annually to keep pace with demand. If freight demand grows as it is projected to, the driver shortage could balloon to nearly 240,000 drivers by 2022, according to ATA data.4The 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, predicts continued growth in transportation and warehousing employment, adding approximately 445,500 jobs between 2008 and 2018, with the possibility of even greater additions due to the projections being calculated from the beginning of 2008, just after the current recession began.2
Women and minorities may have even greater opportunities.2
Improvements in equipment have greatly reduced the need for drivers to be “big and strong” to operate a tractor-trailer.
Over-the-road drivers (beginning) $36,000 +
Over-the-road drivers (with experience) $40,000 +
Local drivers (beginning) $30,000 +
Local drivers (with experience) $35,000 +
Wage scales differ from region to region and also depend on the kind of freight carried. Annual earnings in the $36,000 to $45,000 range aren’t unusual for over-the-road drivers. Some experienced, specialized drivers make $60,000 a year or more.
Local drivers are generally paid by the hour. Long haul drivers are generally paid by the mile.
Owner Operators who own their own trucks and lease out their services have the potential to make a very good living. Some who are business minded have built small successful companies and greatly increased their income.
Local: Operate light to heavy trucks. They may be in pick-up and delivery operations, route-sales, or both. They have more contact with customers than long haul drivers and usually make many stops or deliveries a day.
Long Haul: Operate heavy trucks and may be gone from 1 to 3 weeks at a time traveling to many different states or locations with no set schedule.
Line Haul: Operate heavy trucks on what is called a “dedicated run.” They operate their equipment from determined points, often on the same run all the time.
Owner Operators: Operate equipment they own. Often, owner operators will only own the tractor and they will pull a trucking companies trailer. Sometimes they will own the tractor and trailer and will lease the entire rig to haul freight for a particular company, or broker.
Class B Drivers: Operate smaller trucks usually on local runs. Class B drivers generally do not make as much money as Class A drivers.
|1||American Trucking Association (ATA) - 2005 ATA Driver Shortage Study|
|2||US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistic, 2010 - 2011 Edition|
|3||The latest Wage statistics can be obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm|
Sources: American Trucking Associations (ATA) October 22, 2013 press release available online: http://www.truckline.com/article.aspx?uid=0c98b069-cb00-457d-84b4-75a3c0ebaf3b and July 9, 2014 press release available online at: http://www.truckline.com/article.aspx?uid=0c98b069-cb00-457d-84b4-75a3c0ebaf3b
|Additional articles for reference:|
|Analysis of Truck Driver Age Demographics FINAL 12 2014.pdf|
|Driver shortage - ATA’s Graves - Article from Logistics Management.pdf|