Profit pressures from high fuel costs plus a softening of freight activity has caused truckload carriers to put the brakes on driver wage increases, says SignPost Inc.
According to the company’s latest National Survey of Driver Wages, fewer than 15% of carriers made wage changes in the third quarter of 2000. By comparison, more than 20% made changes in third quarter 1999, 23% in 1998, and almost 25% in 1997.

Moreover, half of the changes were adjustments to benefits rather than wages. SignPost calculates that the dollar value of wages and benefits paid to drivers rose only 1.5% on an annualized basis -- significantly lower than a 3.6% raise third quarter 1999, 4.3% in 1998, and 4.8% in 1997.
Among carriers that did raise wages, the average increase was 2.6%. Reefer carriers averages 4.5%, dry van carriers 2.6%, and flatbed carriers 0.7%.
SignPost’s Major Carrier Wage Index, based on pay packages of the country’s largest truckload carriers, sets the average starting pay for a driver with three years of experience at 31 cents a mile versus 29.8 cents a year ago. Average pay for dry van carriers is 31.5 cents, up from 30.3 cents the same time last year. Average pay for flatbed carriers is 31.3 cents versus 30.3 cents. Average for refrigerated carriers is 30.1 cents versus 28.8 cents.
More information about SignPost and The National Survey of Driver Wages can be found at