America Is Facing A Shortage Of Truck Drivers, Thousands Of Drivers Wanted

By the end of this year, there is going to be a shortage of around 50,000 truck drivers in America. That is according to a new report by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). According to CNN, a few years ago, the country was facing a shortage of 30,000 truck drivers, and 10 years ago America faced a shortage of 20,000 truckers.

Businesses in America need truckers to transport goods from one location to another, and not having enough drivers on the road can affect daily deliveries of pretty much anything. This includes everything from food and gas for grocery stores and gas stations to online orders en route to individual homes.

A Walmart Truck
[Photo by Walmart/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]Truck drivers work in an industry that cannot be shipped overseas, and it is a job that has the potential to harm the U.S. economy. This is because truck driving jobs have the potential to drive up the cost of goods.

According to ABC, it's no secret why businesses are will to pay good money for truck drivers.

As a matter of fact, according to Bob Costello, the chief economist at the ATA, compensation for truckers has been going up in recent years. On average, it has been going up eight to 12 percent per year, and that's higher than many Americans' wages.

Truck drivers who work for private fleets earn a median annual wage of $73,000, and the Labor Department puts the median annual salary for all truck drivers at around $40,000, but sometimes finding workers to fill job vacancies isn't that easy to do.

In America, there's around 1.5 million truck drivers, and around 750,000 of those are considered "for hire," which means they work for a truck company that is hired by another company. These truck drivers can spend quite a bit of time out on the road before they are able to make it back home. Sometimes the truck drivers are on the road for almost two weeks.

Truck Drivers Often Spend A Lot Of Time On The Road
[Photo by Colby Stopa/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]Companies are finding it difficult to recruit workers, as well as to retain them. This is in part due to issues, such as paid leave and flexible schedules, that are being placed in the spotlight. Plus, an aging workforce and a lack of interest from younger workers also contribute to the shortage.

The ATA says the median age for truck drivers is 49, while the Labor Department says the median age for all American workers is about 42-years-old. Costello said that the trucking industry is having the toughest time retaining young workers, and the companies are also having a hard time recruiting women.

Women have become a larger part of the workforce, more so now than in previous generations. Even though women make up around 47 percent of the workforce in the United States, only around six percent of truckers are women.

Experts say that the requirements people need to meet haven't changed in years. Truck drivers need to be at least 21-years-old, and they need to have a commercial trucking license. Those who wish to become truckers also need to pass a drug test and background check.

What has changed is that there are fewer people who are willing to get behind the wheel of a truck and spend days at a time out on the road, as well as putting in long hours that truck drivers typically put in.

The ATA's report also estimated that over the next 10 years, the trucking industry will need to hire 890,000 new truck drivers. Around 45 percent of the demand for truck drivers comes from the need to replace the drivers who are retiring, while industry growth is the second leading factor of new hiring. Also, the impact of federal regulations, such as electronic logging, on the shortage were not factor into the ATA's analysis.

[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]