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Trucking Wages Up in 2021, Study Finds

Trucking Wages Up Alongside Freight Demand, Driver Shortage

As demand for truck drivers rises among a growing shortage, so have driver wages, according to a new study by the American Trucking Associations.

In the wake of increased shipping spurred by the pandemic and compounding fractures in the supply chain, the truck driver shortage has grown to a staggering 80,000 openings in the U.S. Couple this with a 3.5% unemployment rate and the need to entice drivers with competitive wages becomes clear.

“We are committed to creating better jobs for our drivers, and that includes offering pay that reflects the value of the work they do,” said John Culp, president of North Little Rock-based Maverick USA and member of the Arkansas Trucking Association Board of Directors. “If we want to attract the best candidates to our industry, we have to be willing to pay for it in terms of actual wages and other benefits.” 

The 2022 ATA Driver Compensation Study found the median truckload driver earned more than $69,000 in 2021 – an 18% increase from the previous survey. More than 90% of truckload fleets raised pay in 2021, with the average increase hitting 10.9%. In the less-than-truckload (LTL) sector, every fleet surveyed raised pay in 2021, with the median wage hitting $73,000. While the median salary for a driver at a private fleet remained stagnant at $85,000, sign-on and referral bonuses increased across the board.

“Increasing drivers’ wages is good for our industry and for our state,” said Shannon Newton, president, Arkansas Trucking Association. “Trucking is a huge employer nationwide, but in particular in Arkansas where it provides one in ten jobs. Higher wages help demonstrate how essential drivers are to delivering our way of life, and by offering more competitive pay, we showcase the incredible career opportunities to be found in trucking.”

Fleets with more than 135,000 employee drivers, and nearly 20,000 independent contractors were asked about their compensation, including pay rates, bonuses and benefits for the 2022 survey. The full 2022 ATA Driver Compensation Study is available for purchase at

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Arkansas Trucking Association
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