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Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: No Wonder there is a US Truck Driver Shortage


Wages not Keeping Up with Inflation; Drivers Would be Making $111,00 per Year if They Had, NTI Estimates

March 10, 2016
SCDigest Editorial Staff

We all know there is a major US truck driver shortage that threatens to get worse. Estimates vary, but analysis from the American Trucking Associations last year estimated the shortfall at about 150,000 drivers in 2020, up from 70,000 this year.

All being equal, that deficit would translate into capacity shortages, higher rates, service challenges and more.


In response, virtually all major and many smaller carriers have instituted pay hikes for drivers in the past 18 months - some by as much as 20%.


But guess what - that's not nearly enough.


Some eye opening analysis recently from Gordon Klemp and Leah Shaver of The National Transportation Institute (NTI), during a webcast with John Larkin, a transportation sector analyst with investment firm Stifel.


Take a look at the chart below from NTI. It shows, for example, that since 1994, driver pay has lagged growth in the consumer price index by 4% to more than 9%, depending on the trucking sector. That is hardly a recipe for closing a driver shortage.



The story since 1980 and the start of trucking deregulation is even worse. If driver pay had kept up with inflation since then, truckers would be bringing home some $111,000 per year - roughly double the rate they reach today.


So we shouldn't be surprised we don't have enough truckers here - wages not even keeping up with inflation, while it is a very tough lifestyle for over the road drivers.


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