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Focus: Transportation Management

Feature Article from Our Transportation Management Subject Area - See All

From SCDigest's On-Target E-Magazine

April 11 , 2012


Logistics News: Truck Driver Turnover Dropped Slightly in Q4, ATA Says


One Point Improvement over Q3 at Least Stops Rising Levels Since Start of 2010

SCDigest Editorial Staff


Amid growing concerns over current and future driver shortages, the American Trucking Associations said this week that driver turnover in Q4 dropped slightly, but still came in at a rate of 88%.

SCDigest Says:

The turnover issue is almost completely a problem for truckload carriers. Less-than-truckload carriers have a turnover rate of 7 percent.
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That was down just one percentage point from the Q3 level.

While that may not seem like much improvement, it follows a number of consecutive quarters where the turnover rate increased since it bottomed out at 39% in the first quarter of 2010.


For the full year, the large truckload turnover rate in 2011  averaged 83%, the highest average since 2007 when driver churn at large carriers averaged 117%, according to the ATA.


That turnover rate peaked at 136% in 2005, contributing to a major capacity crisis in the industry.


Relatedly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently said that the number of truck drivers employed increased last year for the first time since 2008, rising 2.9% to to 1.51 million, after falling 18.4% from 2008 through 2010.


So, that's 16.1% below the nearly 1.8 million tractor-trailer drivers employed in the U.S. in 2008 — the highest year on record year for truck driver employment.


Apart from 2010, the 1.51 million driver figure represents the lowest number of drivers employed since 1998, according to BLS data, which does not include self-employed drivers


Also, the average pay for tractor-trailer drivers barely went up in 2011, rising 1% last year to $39,830, compared with $39,450 in 2010, according to the BLS.

(Transportation Management Article Continued Below)




The ATA, for its part, was hardly sanguine about the slight reversal in  direction.


“This reprieve, while surprising, is likely temporary,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. As the economy recovers, the driver market will tighten, he said.


Many observers have noted that the low-employment economy and poor construction industry conditions have not led to a surge of drivers to start or return to the industry, as has happened historically. New CSA 2010 changes relative to reporting on the safety records of drivers may also be playonmg a role in keeping a large number of potential drivers out of the industry.


Interestingly, smaller size truckers appear to do a better job retaining their drivers. Truckload firms with less than $30 million in annual revenue saw their fourth quarter turnover rate dropped from 57 to 55%, more than 30 percentage points below the overall average.


And the turnover issue is almost completely a problem for truckload carriers. Less-than-truckload carriers have a turnover rate of 7 percent, ATA said, primarily due to the much better lifestyle enjoyed by LTL drivers, who can get home most evenings. In fact, a lot of the turnover in TL comes from drivers leavng the sector for positions at LTL carriers or private fleets.


Comment on this article at the Feedback Section below.


Recent Feedback

The fast and secured transportation is the key requirement of any business. I agree, turnover issue is absolutely a problem for truckload carriers.

John Williams
Truck Drivers and Logistics Management
Logistics Software Solutions
Apr, 18 2012