Driver turnover at large truckload fleets rose to an annualized rate of 87% in the second quarter of 2015 according to Bob Costello, chief economist of American Trucking Associations.

Despite a rise of three percentage points over the first quarter, the figure is still below recent averages and turnover at large fleets is at its lowest point since the second quarter of 2011. In 2014, large fleet turnover averaged 95%.

“While below recent averages, driver turnover is still high and a sign of a very competitive market for qualified drivers,” said Costello. “We repeatedly hear from carriers that they are unable to find enough qualified drivers, leading to fears of a growing driver shortage and these numbers reflect that.”

By contrast, smaller truckload fleets, with revenues of less than $30 million, fell seven percentage points to 76%, hitting its lowest mark since the third quarter of 2013. In a recent report, ATA projected the driver shortage to hit 48,000 drivers by the end of the year – the highest recorded level yet.

“America’s trucking industry moves nearly 70% of the country’s freight and we need drivers to do it,” said Costello. “While turnover is not at historic highs, it is still high enough to merit concern. Fleets need to hire 89,000 a drivers a year to keep pace with retirements and projected growth, so ensuring an adequate pool of qualified drivers is critical.”