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

High temperatures, humidity to close out summer
High temperatures, humidity to close out summer

Another hot and humid day Storms return Friday Cooler for first weekend of fall TODAY: A quiet morning to start the day. It’ll be warm and muggy with highs around 90 degrees with a heat index in the low 90s. Overall, sunshine a few clouds with a possible pop up downpour by late afternoon.  TOMORROW: Sunshine early on, but clouds...
Pennsylvania man found dead after killing parents, shooting at ex-wife, police say
Pennsylvania man found dead after killing parents, shooting at ex-wife, police say

A Pennsylvania man who authorities believe killed his parents Wednesday evening after shooting at his ex-wife has been found dead, WCAU and WPVI are reporting. Update 3:53 a.m. EDT:  According to WCAU, authorities found Bruce Rogal, 59, of Glenmoore, dead early Thursday after his car crashed in the West Bradford Township neighborhood where...
KISS announces 'End of the Road' farewell tour
KISS announces 'End of the Road' farewell tour

We’ve heard this song before, but it seems genuine that KISS’ upcoming “End of the Road World Tour” will be exactly that. The band announced the decision to pack up the pyro after a performance on Wednesday’s finale of “America’s Got Talent.” "All that we have built and all that we have...
Highlights from first Ohio Governor’s Debate in Dayton
Highlights from first Ohio Governor’s Debate in Dayton

Ohio’s major-party governor candidates were harshly critical of each other in a spirited first debate Wednesday, jabbing each other over contrasting policy positions on opioids, abortion and e-schools and poking the other’s record in public office as a failure. The debate was hosted by the University of Dayton. Cox Media Group Ohio was...
State group proposes long-term changes to graduation standards
State group proposes long-term changes to graduation standards

Ohio‘s long-term graduation work group wants students to have a much broader set of pathways to a diploma, but questions remain about when a new system should take effect and what should happen until then. The 24-member group of educators, politicians and a parent organized by state superintendent Paolo DeMaria held its last meeting Wednesday...
More Stories