Employment at truck dealerships hit its highest point in five years, according to a report from American Truck Dealers, as dealers work to improve customer uptime and deal with ever-more-complex equipment..
Employment was up 5.6% for the year, with medium- and heavy-duty truck dealerships employing 129,392 workers in 2016. The numbers were gathered by ATD, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, in its annual financial profile of America’s new-truck dealerships, ATD Data 2016.
The average dealership employed 57 workers and sold 145 new trucks in the year on average. Despite the increase in employment in 2016, truck sales were actually down 8.3% for the year, topping $85.4 billion.
But truck dealerships employed 17.4% more technicians in 2016 for a total of 44,108. And service and parts sales totaled more than $27.9 billion in 2016, up 5.9%.
"The customers want higher utilization and the dealers are responding by adding technicians and bays," Patrick Manzi, senior economist for NADA, told HDT. "In addition, there is also the fact that we have increasing complexity which also requires more hours and thus more techs."
Sales averaged $37.8 million per dealership, again down 8.8% from the year before. The average price of a new Class 8 truck was $119,574 in 2016 and the average price of a used Class 8 truck was $47,217. The top 10 states in sales by rank were Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Georgia.
“Commercial truck dealerships contribute to their communities with jobs that pay well and offer the opportunity for advancement,” Manzi said in a press release. “In the service department, demand for technical positions remains high.”