Freight Slowdown Could Hinder Driver Wage Increases

February 12, 2016

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With the slowdown in late 2015, the majority of surveyed carriers felt that driver wages would increase 1-5%. Source: Transport Capital Partners
With the slowdown in late 2015, the majority of surveyed carriers felt that driver wages would increase 1-5%. Source: Transport Capital Partners

Driver wage increases may be limited by slowdown in freight in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a carrier survey by Transport Capital Partners.

Volume expectations were also lowered for 2016 due to the industry slowdown at the end of last year, though some carriers were cautiously optimistic for growth. In the survey, 70% of carriers expected wage increases of 1% to 5%, while 22% of carriers expected to see no increases at all.

“Carriers are in a tactical seasonal strategy – the first quarter being weak in loads, more drivers being available from construction in northern climates, and deep cutbacks in truck purchases over the last couple of months,” said Richard Mikes, TCP partner. “The longer term struggle between business caution and the need to improve driver staffing via driver wage levels will be interesting to watch in 2016."

The survey also found that only a third of carriers expect volume increases in 2016, while half of those surveyed were expecting a flat year ahead. In the history of the survey, this is the highest percentage of carriers expecting volumes to remain the same, according to TCP.

Despite lowered expectations, only 1/6th of those surveyed expected to see a decrease in volume.

“While volume and rate expectations have tumbled, there is still no fear of a looming recession in these results,” said Steven Dutro, TCP partner.


  1. 1. Helen Randall [ February 16, 2016 @ 05:45AM ]

    What are the wages? This graph only talks about percentages. What are the going hourly wages? or per mile amount?


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