The turnover rate for truckload drivers dipped by 14 per cent in the fourth quarter last year – likely as a result of a soft economy and freight volumes, according to the American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Activity Report.
However, even with the quarterly decrease in turnover, the truckload sector is still currently short between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers, says ATA, which predicts the “driver shortage storm” is yet to come.
The churn rate large truckload carriers dropped from an annualized rate of 104 percent in the to a still-high rate 90 percent. For all of 2012, turnover averaged 98 percent, the highest since 2007.
At smaller truckload fleets, the turnover rate dipped to 76 percent from 94 percent in the previous quarter. Small fleet turnover averaged 82 percent in 2012 – the highest since 2007’s average of 90 percent.
“As freight volumes slid a bit at the end of 2012, we saw turnover follow suit,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “However, this is just a respite from the long-term trend and driver shortage storm that’s coming when the freight economy accelerates; and even then, these relaxed levels are still quite high relative to recent years.”
“Once we see steadier, more robust economic growth, we could see an industry that is short by as many as 239,000 drivers by 2022,” Costello said. “Hard as it may to believe, we may someday soon look back on turnover rates of just 90 percent as the good old days as increased demand, an aging workforce and regulatory constraints combine to push the shortage higher.”