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You are here: Home News In Brief American Trucking Associations Rebuts BOL Statistics' Denial that there is No Driver Shortage

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.”

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You are here: Home News In Brief American Trucking Associations Rebuts BOL Statistics' Denial that there is No Driver Shortage