Exhausting the driver supply

Avery Vise, writing for FleetOwner.com, on why trucking employment was up only 1% through October, which is even slower than the 1.4% year-to-date growth in overall U.S. employment:

Until now, the one clear benefit fleets enjoyed in hiring was high national unemployment, but that’s changing—especially in the industry that competes most closely with trucking for labor. After shedding more than 25% of its payroll jobs in 2008 and 2009, construction hiring has outpaced the overall economy since 2011.

So it could be that a depression in construction masked a looming crisis that fleets are just now beginning to experience. And after 12 straight years of job cuts, payroll employment has risen in manufacturing in each of the past four years, suggesting at least stability in that sector.

Meanwhile, the trucking industry is grappling with an aging driver force, CSA enforcement, widespread adoption of electronic logs, and new HOS rules that reduce productivity.

The drop in trucking job growth in 2013, Vise says, could mean that trucking companies are finally beginning to exhaust the driver supply.