The U.S. is currently facing a trucker shortage. According to the American Trucking Associations, the U.S will be short 175,000 drivers by 2026. Due to the lack of drivers, goods are more expensive and orders become delayed. Due to the shortage, freight rates are climbing steadily due to more work than truckers can handle.
For many it may not seem like a big deal but the driver shortage affects the entire economy. More than 68% of freight and goods are moved on American highways. The shortage has increased driver pay due to higher demand, and that cost is passed on to the consumer through higher prices.
There are plenty of trucking jobs available and many Americans looking for employment as well as better pay so why do we have a truck driver shortage?
Below are a few factors that play into the reason we have a shortage currently with Truck drivers.
- Age- Hiring younger workers has proved to be difficult for the industry. Federal regulations require drivers to be at least 21 years of age to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License and go through truck driver training. The gap between high school age 18 and age 21 has many young workers choosing a career path that is available right out of high school and its becomes very unlikely they revisit a career in truck driving once they become eligible. This is causing a large problem due to many truck drivers getting to the age of retirement but the lack of younger age employees filling those empty seats.
- Gender- Females make up 47% of all U.S. workers, yet only comprise 6% of all truck drivers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The share of female drivers has remained stagnant % since 2000. This is a large, untapped portion of the population.
- Lifestyle- The on the road lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It plays another large role that keeps people from seeking a career in the trucking industry. Many drivers, especially ones new to being on the road, are given routes that keep them on the road for long periods of time. Most only return a few times a month, which can make it challenging to raise a family. The trucking industry has a 94 % turnover rate due to the challenging lifestyle.
Over the next few years, we will see many people trying to lower the trucking age to 18 and influence more women into becoming a truck driver to try and help with this shortage.