Driver wage gains have been picking up momentum in the second quarter after being largely flat in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, according to the latest data from the National Transportation Institutes’ National Survey of Driver Wages and National Driver Wage Index.
A key observation from the second-quarter survey, NTI said, is the reversal of a trend from the pandemic recovery years. NTI reports that during 2021 and 2022, fleets heavily competed for new drivers, resulting in wage momentum being the strongest for drivers with just a year of experience. However, NTI analysis now shows that the trend has ended, and the current quarter shows more senior drivers seeing the largest per-mile pay increases.
“By percentage, so-called cap earners — professional drivers with the most experience and earning the highest pay — saw their wages increase the most quarter to quarter. Cap earners also gained ground in year-over-year percentage pay gains in their per-mile base pay, while growth for drivers with one year of experience slowed,” states the recent NTI report.
Driver Wage Momentum Increases
According to NTI, per-mile pay for all drivers of all experience levels saw larger gains in the second quarter of 2023 than in both prior quarters. Per-mile pay growth across experience levels held near 5% year over year, according to the survey.
The National Survey of Driver Wages and the National Driver Wage Index show that per-mile wages continued moving up the pay scale in the second quarter of 2023.
In addition, both per-mile and flat-rate incentives for fuel efficiency, performance, productivity, and safety saw gains year over year, according to survey data. Flat-rate incentives increased the most, with some growing by a few hundred dollars on a quarterly basis.