Trucker Shortage Hurts Small Businesses

A piece in Crain’s Cleveland Business (subscription required) suggests the U.S. has a shortage of truck drivers right now — at least, long-haul truckers.

The article quotes Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations and says “the industry needs to hire about 34,000 new drivers each year due to industry growth, although that number is expected to rise in the future as truck freight is projected to increase more than 30% during the next 10 years.”

The culprits: working conditions (being away from home); schooling requirements (it’s expensive and there’s no financial aid); and legal limitations (workers must be over 21 and have two years’ experience, sending younger workers toward different career paths).

Small trucking companies are caught in the competition for drivers. The article highlights one small business, All Pro Freight Systems, that is focusing on job satisfaction, working conditions and pay in order to attract long-haul drivers.

This employment shortage could be a far reaching trend because of the dependence of the American economy on truck freight, and because so many small businesses are in the trucking business. According to the American Trucking Associations:

    “Trucking is an important industry in America. The trucking industry is comprised of more than 500,000 for-hire, private and government fleets, including owner operators. It employs 9.7 million people, including 3.12 million drivers, and accounts for nearly 5% of the U.S. gross domestic product.”

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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