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Driver turnover rate at truckload carriers surges

Sept. 19, 2017
The turnover rate at truckload carriers surged in the second quarter of 2017, a sign that the market for drivers is quickly tightening, according to Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations chief economist.

The turnover rate at truckload carriers surged in the second quarter of 2017, a sign that the market for drivers is quickly tightening, according to Bob Costello, American Trucking Associations chief economist.

“We saw double-digit gains in the annualized turnover rate for both small and large truckload fleets,” said Costello. “After a period of relatively low turnover, it appears the driver market is tightening again, which coupled with increased demand for freight movement, could rapidly exacerbate the driver shortage.”

According to ATA’s quarterly report, the turnover rate at large truckload carriers jumped 16 percentage points to 90%—the highest it has been since the final quarter of 2015. The 16-point increase is the largest quarterly jump since the fourth quarter of 2010.

At smaller carriers, fleets with less than $30 million in annual revenue, the turnover rate swelled by 19 percentage points to 85%, the highest it has been since the first quarter of 2016.

The turnover picture at less-than-truckload fleets was more muddled, with over-the-road LTL turnover dipping one point to 9%, but the rate for local LTL drivers was 14%, up two percentage points from the previous quarter and the highest rate in three years.

“We predicted that last year’s period of relatively low and stable turnover could be short-lived if the freight economy recovered from 2016’s freight recession,” said  Costello. “It appears those predictions were correct, and we may be seeing the beginnings of a significant tightening of the driver market and acceleration of the driver shortage.”

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