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Market competition for fewer truck drivers spurs increase in their pay

March 30, 2018
See why pay for truck drivers has increased, according to ATA's latest Driver Compensation Study.

Truck driver pay has climbed as rising demand for freight transportation services has heightened competition for increasingly scarce drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations’ latest Driver Compensation Study.

“This latest survey, which includes data from more than 100,000 drivers, shows that fleets are reacting to an increasingly tight market for drivers by boosting pay, improving benefit packages and offering other enticements to recruit and retain safe and experienced drivers,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist.

According to this most recent study, the median salary for a truckload driver working a national, irregular route was more than $53,000—a $7,000 gain from ATA’s last survey, which covered annual pay for 2013, or an increase of 15%. A private fleet driver saw their pay rise to more than $86,000 from $73,000 or an advance of nearly 18%.

In addition to rising pay, Costello said fleets were offering generous signing bonuses and benefit packages to attract and keep drivers.

“Our survey told us that carriers are offering thousands of dollars in bonuses to attract new drivers, and once drivers are in the door, fleets are offering benefits like paid leave, health insurance and 401(k)s to keep them,” he said.

“This data demonstrates that fleets are reacting to concerns about the driver shortage by raising pay and working to make the job more attractive,” he said. “I expect that trend to continue as demand for trucking services increases as our economy grows.”

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