September 2013

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/165354

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Page 27 of 109

Weighing the demand for drivers Is a truck capacity crisis — and higher compensation — just around the corner? By Kevin Jones H elp-wanted ads in local newspapers are dominated by the 800- numbers of trucking companies looking for CDL holders. On the Internet, anyone who visits a few trucking-related pages soon will find ads by driver-desperate carriers appearing next to a favorite cat video. The quarterly earnings reports of publically traded trucking companies caution investors about the high cost and potential dangers of the growing driver shortage. Yet many company drivers and owner-operators are skeptical, having heard carriers crying about a driver shortage for years. They want hard proof – higher pay – that would validate claims of high demand for drivers amid low supply. By some analyses, a substantial industry-wide pay raise is imminent, but that's hardly certain. Though pay in some trucking niches has jumped strongly, it has been flat for trucking as a whole. Since 2003, wages for the entire for-hire trucking industry grew 32 percent, slightly less than the entire private work force, at 34 percent, according to government statistics. Some factors that could lead to a more severe driver shortage – and a resulting pay hike – are simple enough: • A large number of long-time drivers 26 | Overdrive | September 2013 Driver_Shortage.indd 26 8/27/13 10:51 PM

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