Turnover Still Over 90% at Truckload Fleets

April 01, 2015

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ATA Chief Economist, Bob Costello. Image via ATA
ATA Chief Economist, Bob Costello. Image via ATA

Turnover at truckload fleets remained high in the fourth quarter of 2014, according the American Trucking Association’s chief economist, Bob Costello. Costello considers turnover at truckload fleets to be a barometer of the driver shortage.

Turnover at large truckload fleets actually fell a percentage point to an annualized rate of 96% for the quarter. Small truckload carriers making less than 30 million in revenue saw a 1% increase, for a rate of 95% turnover.

For the year, large truckload turnover was down 1%  from 2013  to 95%. But turnover was up more than 11% at small carriers, bringing the rate to 95%. A five-point gap between the two rates is the smallest since 2000.

The narrow gap between turnover levels at small and large carriers is an uncommon occurrence and likely the result of larger fleets increasing pay, offering bonuses and attracting more drivers from smaller fleets, according to Costello.

 “These figures show us that the driver shortage– which we now estimate to be between 35,000 to 40,000 drivers– is getting more pervasive in the truckload sector,” Costello said.

“Due to growing freight volumes, regulatory pressures and normal attrition, we expect the problem to get worse in the near term as the industry works to find solutions to the shortage," he added.


  1. 1. Kenny Scott [ April 02, 2015 @ 06:17AM ]

    There is a shortage because of pay. An over the road driver should be at $100000. I see nobody at that rate. We consistently hear it is a market place economy but apparently the ATA type do not believe in it. They are bad people in a good business. Just like are Federal Goverment. I am not a teamster now but the teamsters sold out in the eighties and now we have what we have . People of money never will pay a fair wage it is just not in there nature. Just as Government will never be right without the people. We need unions but not the old ones they have failed. I pray for new start in Goverment and unions but I am not holding my breath.

  2. 2. Dennis [ April 02, 2015 @ 09:24AM ]

    It is sad that in an industry that has almost a complete employer turnover year after year that they can't see that they are doing something wrong. Hey tricking companies try these thoughts out. Pay your drivers enough to compensate for all the time we are working and not with our families. Try not holding load in the que until it is late and expect the drivers to still get there in time. Treat the drivers as an equal partner in the company. Without the drivers your company doesn't make money. Office staff aren't the only humans at your company. I know none of the companies will recognize that this about them. They will think it is the other company that is messing up.

  3. 3. Cliff Downing [ April 04, 2015 @ 04:12PM ]

    There is no driver shortage. It is a myth promoted by ATA, TCA, et al. Whenever there is a shortage of something, the price rises. Shortage of fuel, price goes thru the roof. Even a shortage of toilet paper would cause prices to rise to meet demand. If there were truly a shortage of drivers, 6 digit incomes for those with more than 2 years experience would be the norm.

  4. 4. Lee Lenard [ April 05, 2015 @ 10:14PM ]

    Good comments. Yes the Teamsters screwed it up back in the 80's and now there is no one to stand up for the working class and especially the long haul truck driver. Cliff is correct.....but there is another level....Yes a shortage exist and future shortages may get worse hiring drivers "that are willing to work for below average wage". That always gets left out when the driver employment subject comes up. If the pay rate reflects the requirements of work conditions and a driver can earn a decent living, the shortage will disappear!

  5. 5. keith lengyel [ April 07, 2015 @ 07:35AM ]

    I agree that the shortage is caused by poor pay rate for drivers, but it is also a lack of respect towards drivers. At shippers and receivers we wait hours on end which we are not compensated for while also loosing valuable time on the road, hundreds of miles in fact.
    We have a dangerous job. There certainly needs to be a public awareness campaign informing four-wheelers of what not to do around big trucks and how to act in incliamate weather. There are numerous reasons why folks don't want this dangerous job. Let's start with the obvious ones and work together from there. The industry needs us.

  6. 6. steve [ April 11, 2015 @ 05:52PM ]

    i am at a homeless shelter in Brampton on. A (ryder Carquest) truck hit the back end of the tractor trailer i was driving jan 2 2015 i have been unemployed for 2 months waiting for the truck to fixed only to be given the run around. Thank goodness for the salvation army. I was the type of driver that would push to keep the company happy. the fed dept of labour told me in canada many trucking companies have been paying the driver fairly. Truck driver need to be paid a minium of twice the minium wage and over time after 44 hour per week plus a $10 per diem and the driver shortage would be gone in 6 months. It has cost the ontario goverment and the salvation army over $3,000 to keep me for 3 months plus my lost income is over $10,000.00

  7. 7. Robert Torrez [ April 15, 2015 @ 03:41AM ]

    How can such an educated man likethis Bob Costello be so stupid? I could go on and on about why this so called driver shortage is a myth, but these fools have been talking about it for the 30 years that I've been driving! ATA just wants more government money!

  8. 8. Stephen w [ April 18, 2015 @ 04:49AM ]

    The ATA and the CTA. in Canada do not seem to understand that there is no shortage of truck drivers . Most truck drivers are doing other jobs as the pay is too low and many truck drivers are being treated badly. A trucking company recruiter thought that i should give up a $24.00 hour per job with 10 hours per week overtime and home 4 nights per week hotels and meals paid for . That i should drive team be out 2 weeks at a time pay for my own meals and make $125 layover and $.50 spilt per mile.

  9. 9. Richard Emerson [ April 27, 2015 @ 11:40AM ]

    Frankly, I am surprised anyone wants to do this job anymore. I started in 1991 and the BS only increases. I wish every profession had a DOT sticking a nose in their business. They would look in your drawer and cite you for your pens not being arranged properly. Well actually, I don't wish that, but that is the point, isn't it. It is one thing to make sure we are safe out here and quite another to nitpick every little thing. I think pay is the biggest issue. The job is dangerous, we actually have to know how to read and write, we have to pass tests, most of us have lots of common sense, many of us sacrifice time away from family, and for all that companies think we should make minimum wage. Not a formula for driver retention. I also think we should be able to do the speed limit, be it 55 or 70. Who wants to drive a truck governed at 65 or less - and lots are. I pass them and feel sorry for the blokes. They are frustrated and tried because of the extra time they spend behind the wheel. If you are governed at 65 and the truck in front of you is governed at 64, guess what? You just became a 64 mph truck - unless you want to hold up traffic for 15 minutes while you pass - and pray that a hill is not up ahead. So much BS. I'll close with this: One time I was picking up at a distribution center near Harrisburg, PA. It was Driver Appreciation Day, and as you passed through the guard house, they gave out a little gift. Very nice I thought. It took eight hours to get loaded. Sadly, not atypical.


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