Arkansas Trucking Association

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American Trucking Associations rebuts BOL statistics' denial that there is no driver shortage

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a working paper in March that refuted the trucking industry’s claim that it is experiencing a driver shortage despite rising wages, American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello criticized the paper and its findings.

In the Bureau’s piece, “Is the U.S. labor market for truck drivers broken?”,  authors Stephen Burks and Kristen Monaco conclude that, contrary to industry and media statements, the trucking labor market is consistent with other blue-collar occupations and while for-hire over-the-road drivers experience high turnover rates, the labor supply is not exceeded by demand.

“Unfortunately in their article Mr. Burks and Ms. Monaco demonstrated some basic misunderstandings about the trucking industry generally and how we at ATA and in the industry discuss the driver shortage,” said Costello.

In his critique, Costello first notes the size and diversity of the industry and that within trucking, it is accepted that the driver shortage is mostly contained to the over-the-road or long-haul for-hire truckload segment. He also points out the age of the data used as nearly two decades old.

“Second, this work ignores ATA’s long-standing contention that at the heart of the shortage is the need for qualified drivers. Unlike other 'blue collar' jobs the authors compare truck drivers to – motor carriers cannot simply hire anyone to do the job, there are many barriers to entry for new drivers: age requirements, CDL testing standards, strict drug and alcohol testing regimes and, perhaps most importantly for many fleets safe and clean driving records.”

The trucking industry’s driver shortage claims are not based on a lack of applicants for available positions, but rather a skills mismatch. Ostello says that carriers report there are not “enough applicants who meet the demanding qualifications to be hired. In some cases, carriers must reject 90% of applicants out of hand because they fail to meet at least one of the prerequisites to drive in interstate commerce.”

The authors claim that the labor market for trucking is similar to other blue-collar jobs fails to consider the weight of hardship truck drivers bear in comparison to other workers in similar fields.

“Unlike their blue collar brethren, truck drivers are often away from home for long stretches as part of the job. Not adjusting their conclusions for something as important as work-life balance leads the authors to make some ill-found claims.”

DOL revives Obama Administration's overtime pay expansion with revisions

In March, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposal to extend mandatory overtime pay to 1.3 million more workers after Obama administration rule that would have extended pay for 4 million workers was struck down by a federal judge.

The current rule states that workers who earn less than $23,660 a year (a threshold set in 2004) are eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. In May 2016, the Labor Department under Pres. Obama doubled that maximum salary to about $47,000. However, in late Nov. 2016, just before the rule was set to take effect, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the increase was too high and would have included employees in management, supervisory, and other high responsibility roles that have been exempted from overtime pay rules.

Instead of appealing the ruling, Pres. Trump’s Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta introduced a new proposal that raises the maximum salary to $35,308, splitting the difference between the current threshold and the doubled maximum from Obama’s rule.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a statement that the proposal would “bring common sense, consistency, and higher wages to working Americans.”

The public may submit comments to the DOL through May 28, 2019 regarding the proposed regulations and whether the exemption ceiling should be indexed to inflation.

Kenneth Calhoun named TMC Chairman

American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council announced that Kenneth Calhoun, fleet optimization manager at Altec Service Group,has been elected 2019-2020 general chairman and treasurer during the organization’s annual meeting.

“Kenneth has been a model TMC member and an example of the type of professional standard our council strives to set. I’m pleased to see him elected as TMC general chairman and treasurer,” said Robert Braswell, TMC executive director. “His passion for finding better ways to analyze maintenance data and develop our next generation workforce is well known and a great asset to the Council.”

Calhoun, from Carlisle, Ark., served this past year as the Council’s vice chairman and chairman of meetings. He succeeds Jeff Harris, vice president of maintenance at USA Truck Inc. as general chairman and treasurer.

“Being recognized like this by my peers in TMC is a tremendous honor, one I am humbled to receive,” Calhoun said, “I want to thank the membership of TMC for the opportunity and thank Jeff for his service to our organization.”

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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