Back in September, the ATA announced that the driver turnover rate was up over 100% for the first time in 4 years. Well, another quarter has passed and the turnover rate is still above 100%. It’s dipped 2% from September and is hovering right around 104%. These numbers are shockingly high, but no one seems terribly surprised.
Trucking companies are blaming the high turnover on the driver shortage. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in September that the shortage is causing companies to battle each other for drivers. This implies that drivers keep getting offered better and better jobs, so they keep switching. In actuality, we know that drivers switch jobs and leave the industry not because they’re getting offered an amazing deal somewhere else, but because fleeing for greener pastures.
Costello reiterated his theory this time saying, “These numbers continue to reflect a tight driver market, and an actual shortage for drivers. We believe the industry is actually short between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers, but if freight volumes were to accelerate, I would expect that number to grow and grow rapidly.”
It’s not just the big companies that are having trouble keeping their drivers around though. Smaller trucking companies (fleets with less than $30 million in annual revenue) actually reported their turnover rates going up. Now that smaller companies are having difficulties with driver retention, it’s time to not only examine the mega-carriers, but also to take a look at the trends of the industry as a whole.
LTL carriers meanwhile reported an average turnover rate of just 8%, down a full percentage point from the previous quarter.
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