Even amid a struggling economy with high unemployment, trucking companies have had a tough time hiring young drivers willing to hit the road for long hauls.
Now the U.S. is speeding toward a critical shortage of truck drivers as the economy recovers and demand for goods increases, an expert in the inner-workings of supply chains said in a recent report. U.S. companies are expected to create more than 115,000 truck-driver jobs per year through 2016, but the number of Americans getting trained to fill those jobs each year is barely 10 percent of the total demand, said Page Siplon, executive director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics.
Siplon looked at a range of supply-chain jobs — from truck drivers and warehouse workers to air cargo supervisors — using career-specific employment forecasts by the Labor Department and then comparing those numbers with Education Department statistics showing how many degrees and certifications for those jobs are being earned each year.
The results found truck drivers will account for 43 percent of expected growth in logistics jobs, but those will also be the positions with the fewest workers trained to fill them. Truck drivers make decent money. The Labor Department says the median yearly wage for tractor-trailer drivers is $37,770, with some drivers earning more than $57,000.