Shortage of drivers slows booming truck demand


Demand for new commercial trucks is surging as companies look to replace aging vehicles and freight volumes have jumped in recent months.

One challenge the industry is facing is companies are scrambling to hire more drivers during a time that lower unemployment has strained recruiting efforts. Demand could be even higher, according to experts, but a lack of available drivers is one factor that has slowed investment.

READ MORE: ‘Like drinking from a fire hose’: How near-record truck demand is a boost for Clark County

Orders for Class 8 trucks, the rigs that typically haul trailers along the highway, were up about 88 percent for the first five months of this year compared to the same time last year, said Kenny Vieth, president of ACT Research, a firm based in Columbus, Ind. that specializes in market analysis and tracking commercial vehicle industry data.

“Conditions in the market today for heavy duty vehicle demand are as good as they’ve ever been,” Vieth said.

The lack of drivers comes at a time when fewer people are out of work, according to a near-record low unemployment rate.

The trucking industry has faced an aging workforce for several years, said Kevin Burch, president and partner of Jet Express in Dayton and immediate past chairman of the American Trucking Association. He said the industry could be even busier, but many companies are struggling to find qualified drivers to complete routes. Many trucking firms are reluctant to order new vehicles if they can’t find someone to drive them, Burch said.

“There’s nothing worse than having a brand new truck sitting against a fence,” he said.

Turnover is also a challenge in the industry, with a turnover rate nearing 100 percent as truck drivers jump from one company to the next for slightly better pay or an earlier shift, he said. Many drivers don’t want to work overnight or over long distances, but trucking firms still need a way to fill those shifts.

“The U.S. economy works around the clock,” Burch said. “Everyone wants to work nine to five, and that’s one of the biggest challenges we face.”

Lawmakers are working on some changes to help alleviate the shortages, including allowing younger drivers under supervision from more experienced drivers to work across state lines, he said.

READ MORE:

A large Clark County group that battles substance abuse has a new, full-time director

New video game store opens in Springfield

Enon pharmacy sold for $2.9M

This Urbana coffee shop was honored by the state, and it’s for a very inspiring reason

Should Springfield get its first major housing development since the ’90s? One board says no.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Finns respond with rakish commentary over Trump's comments
Finns respond with rakish commentary over Trump's comments

People in Finland are raking President Donald Trump over the coals after his comments that the Scandinavian people regularly rake their country’ forests to prevent fire, Time reported. >> Read more trending news  Trump praised what he called Finland’s method for preventing catastrophic wildfires while he was viewing ...
Kroger’s robot-powered warehouse to create over 400 jobs in Monroe
Kroger’s robot-powered warehouse to create over 400 jobs in Monroe

Kroger announced today that Monroe is its choice for America’s first automated warehouse. The $55 million robot-powered project, Kroger’s first customer fulfillment center, is expected to generate at least 410 new jobs. Known as a “shed,” the 335,000-square-foot facility with digital and robotic capabilities will be designed...
Oklahoma man fatally shoots uncle with bow and arrow 
Oklahoma man fatally shoots uncle with bow and arrow 

A 33-year-old Oklahoma man is accused of fatally shooting his uncle with a compound bow and arrow Sunday night, KHBS reported. >> Read more trending news  Joshua Dean Wade, of Poteau, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, the television station reported. According to police, Wade rang the doorbell twice to the Poteau apartment...
Chicago Mercy Hospital: 4 people critical, gunman dead in shooting
Chicago Mercy Hospital: 4 people critical, gunman dead in shooting

A shooter opened fire at a Chicago hospital Monday afternoon wounding four people, including a police officer and a hospital employee, investigators said, before police  shot and killed the gunman at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center. >> Read more trending news   A Chicago police officer was shot and injured in the incident...
Florida man accused of stabbing brother in head with chef's knife
Florida man accused of stabbing brother in head with chef's knife

An 18-year-old Florida man is accused of stabbing his brother in the head with a chef’s knife after an argument Friday morning, TCPalm reported Monday. >> Read more trending news  Nicholas Baio, of Port St. Lucie, was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated battery on a person using a deadly weapon, the website reported...
More Stories