truck driver silhouette inside cab Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Turnover rate’s Q1 climb shows “continued tightness” in driver market

The driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers climbed in the first quarter of 2018, according to Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations chief economist.

“The uptick in turnover is consistent with continued tightness in the market for drivers,” Costello said. “Anecdotally, carriers continue to struggle both recruiting and retaining quality drivers—leading to increasing wages. The tight driver market should continue and will be a source of concern for carriers in the months ahead.”

According to ATA’s Trucking Activity Report, the annualized turnover rate at large truckload carriers—fleets with more than $30 million in annual revenue—jumped six points to 94%. The increase set turnover at these carriers 20 percentage points higher than in the first quarter of 2017.

The turnover rate at less-than-truckload carriers rose two points to 10%.

At smaller truckload carriers, the turnover rate sunk to 73%, but was still seven points higher than for the same period in 2017.

“Turnover is not a measure of the driver shortage, but rather of demand for drivers,” Costello said. “We know that as freight demand continues to rise, demand for drivers to move those goods will also rise, which often results in more driver churn or turnover. Finding enough qualified drivers remains a tremendous challenge for the trucking industry—and one that if not solved will threaten the entire supply chain.”

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