Tags: Financial Markets | Money | truck drivers | jobs | employment | shipping | economic growth

Wanted: 63,000 American Truck Drivers

Wanted: 63,000 American Truck Drivers
(Tripplaar Kristoffer/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 28 June 2018 08:07 PM

Trucking companies have a labor shortage — with 63,000 open positions this year and double that number expected in coming years — in a crisis that could undermine the U.S. economy, The Washington Post reported.

According to the Post, even traditional moves to attract and retain workers — pay hikes, bonuses, and recruiting those who traditionally would not have been considered — are not working in an industry facing higher transportation costs and a historically low level of unemployment.

"Trucking is seen as a last resort if people can't find another job," Otto Smith, an admissions representative at TDDS Technical Institute, an independent trucker school in Ohio, told the Post. "We're a hidden diamond for people looking for work."

The Post reported nearly every item sold in America involves a truck at some point, and the industry's current labor shortage has the power to effect the entire economy, including uncontrolled inflation and a recession.

"This is slowing down the economy already," Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. "If it takes me a week instead of two days to ship products from point A to B, I'm losing potential business."

At TDDS, teachers say the situation is unprecedented in their experience.

"As long as you can get in and out of a truck and pass a physical, a trucking company will take a look at you now," Tish Sammons, the job placement coordinator at TDDS, told the Post. "I recently placed someone who served time for manslaughter."

Most trucking companies are now forced to offer substantial raises — resulting in jobs that pay $60,000 to $70,000, with full benefits and a $4,000 signing bonus, the Post reported.

But the industry's problems go deeper than rising operations costs and a labor shortage: Trucking is one of the most dangerous professions in America, with over 1,000 fatalities among operators in 2016, the Post reported, citing U.S. Labor Department figures.

"It takes a special breed to be a trucker," Rick Rathburn Jr., the owner of TDDS, told the Post. "It's a tough job."

And it is also one of the most unhealthy, the Post reported. Weight gain and heart disease are common, Gordon Zellers, an Ohio physician, told the Post. The industry also requires extra schooling — costing thousands of dollars — so a driver can obtain a commercial driver's license.

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In a crisis that could undermine the U.S. economy, trucking companies have a labor shortage, with 63,000 open positions this year and double that number expected in coming years, according to The Washington Post.
truck drivers, jobs, employment, shipping, economic growth
Thursday, 28 June 2018 08:07 PM
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