In the fourth quarter of 2012, the turnover rate for drivers at large truckload carriers hit 90 percent, a 14-point drop from the previous quarter, according to the American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Activity Report
At smaller carriers, turnover dropped from 94 percent to 76 percent during the quarter, but averaged out to 82 percent for the year, the highest finish since 2007.
Larger carrier driver turnover at the end of the year was at its lowest point since the first quarter of 2012. This drop in turnover rates seemed to echo a year-end dip in freight volumes.
Even with these encouraging numbers, ATA still estimates the trucking industry needs 20,000 to 25,000 more drivers. This driver shortage, commented ATA’s Bob Costello, will only be exacerbated by a turnaround in the U.S. economy.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Even though the turnover numbers seemed like good news, Costello said they are still high compared to recent years. He also sees the current depression not as the beginning of a long-term trend but as simply a brief anomaly. - Jon Ross