The truck driver turnover rate rapidly increased to its highest mark in the last seven years in the second quarter of 2017.
According to American Trucking Associations’ quarterly report, the turnover rate at large truckload carriers in the second quarter of 2017 jumped 16 percentage points to 90 percent – the highest it has been since the final quarter of 2015.
The 16-point increase is the largest quarterly jump in truck driver turnover rate since the fourth quarter of 2010.
“We saw double-digit gains in the annualized turnover rate for both small and large truckload fleets,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob 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.”
The ATA report also revealed turnover numbers for smaller fleets. Smaller carrier companies with $30 million in annual revenue or less saw aneven higher turnover rate increase. For them, the turnover rate increased by 19 percentage points to 85 percent, 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 percent, says the ATA.
“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,” Costello said. “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.”
Despite the high truck driver turnover rate and impeding driver shortage, Truck Tonnage Index jumped 7.1 percent in August and year-to-date, compared with the same eight months in 2016, the index is up 2.1 percent, says the ATA. Costello partially correlates the increases in August to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The trucking industry is trending up still, with 2016 truck freight tonnage up 1 percent or 500 million tons from 2015.
If you’re a truck driver and are ready to make the jump to start your own trucking company, the timing might be right.