Almost every week we see a report from some financial analyst talking about the driver shortage in the trucking industry. The numbers do not lie, there is definitely a shortage, but analysts often overlook the positive side of the trucking industry. As we finish up the first quarter of 2018, trucking sales have increased drastically. In facts, trucking sales for the past two years have been stronger than the last big increase, which was back in 2014.
Greater Efficiency Has Contributed To Increased Trucking Sales
Over the past few years, trucking fleets have managed to increase their efficiency, with many operating at over 90 percent. This is due to large orders from source industries, as well as the increasing shift to e-commerce by private individuals. The economy has been improving since 2015. Unemployment has been lowering across the board. The end result is that more people have money to spend, businesses are growing, and the demand for truckers to make deliveries is might higher. All of these factoring contribute to an increase in trucking sales.
Wages And Bonuses
With increased trucking sales, many fleets are finding ways to hire and retain drivers via higher wages and sign on bonuses. In theory, this would actually slow overall earning for the trucking industry. However, the net gain far outweighs the cost. If more new truckers come into the industry, more customer demands can be met, and shipments can get delivered more efficiently. The data indicates that in the current economic climate, hiring more drivers would allow fleets to make even more trucking sales, which would perpetuate more growth in the industry.
The recent ELD requirements may see a lot of new drivers entering the trucking industry. Part of this is due to the average age difference in the trucking industry, compared to every other business in the United States. The average trucker is 52 years old, compared to other industries where the average worker is nearing or in their early 40s. With increasing technology being implemented, fleets are looking to hire drivers with at least a working knowledge of computers. Simultaneously, older workers do not the restrictions of the ELD mandate, nor do they like the new technological advances – such as self-driving trucks – on the horizon, and are looking to retire. This may usher in a new wave of tech savvy and agile drivers, which will further increase trucking sales and keep the industry growing.