A Journal of Commerce article reports that increases in truck driver wages could raise truckload rates by 12 to 18 percent.
Currently the American Trucking Associations estimates US carriers are short about 35,000 drivers. Continued economic growth will create more trucking jobs but those jobs are likely to be even harder to fill. Fewer hireable candidates — those who are drug-free and have good driving records — will be available for trucking companies to bring onboard. The annualized growth rate in trucking employment rose from 1.5 percent in January 2014 to 3.5 percent this January, BLS data show. But carriers still struggle to find truck drivers and keep them.
That will only serve to push driver pay and trucking rates higher, especially if U.S. wages overall begin to rise as many economists anticipate. Truckload driver wages already began climbing significantly last summer. The reason for the increase is that truckload carriers will need to raise driver pay substantially to attract and keep the type of qualified candidates needed to haul freight. Additionally, new driver-related regulations will make hiring truck drivers harder, and more expensive.
The biggest cost component for a truckload carrier is labor, comprising anywhere from 25 percent to 35 percent of revenue. Therefore, if truckload driver wages go up approximately 50 percent to bring them in-line with the wages paid in the LTL market and attract significant new entrants, underlying pricing would need to rise 12 percent to 18 percent to fund these increases.
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