Pay Race Still On Among Flatbed And Reefer Carriers

May 26, 1999

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Driver pay increases among truckload carriers slowed some in fourth-quarter 1998, but wage hikes among flatbed and refrigerated carriers continued at a rather brisk pace, according to the National Survey of Driver Wages, conducted by SignPost Inc.

About 14% of dry van fleets participating in the survey raised driver pay in the fourth quarter, well below the previous quarter. Most of those, says SignPost, were carriers playing "catch-up" with their competitors.
In comparison, more than 18% of flatbed carriers and 21% of reefer carriers raised starting base pay, about the same percentages as for the previous quarter, and many of those fleets were already offering 29 cents a mile or more for three years of experience. The overall average increase for all fleets was 4.6%, bringing the annualized rate for 1998 to 3.3%.
SignPost's Major Carriers Wage Index, which looks at driver pay for 64 of the country's top 100 truckload carriers, sets average pay for driver with three years of experience at 29.4 cents a mile. That's up 0.6% from third quarter 1998 and 8% from first quarter 1997 when the survey was started. The current average for dry van and flatbed carriers is 29.9 cents. The average for reefer carriers is 29.4 cents.
The National Survey of Driver Wages is based on 441 truckload carrier pay packages. More information is available on the Internet at

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