This week, one of the American Staffing Association’s top 10 hard-to-fill jobs was truck drivers. Today there are some 1,876,000 heavy truck driving jobs, compared to 1.7M in 2010—an increase of 182,000 or 11%–and the occupation clearly wants to grow more. Month over month, the number of ads for truck drivers has climbed rapidly since roughly mid 2013, recently peaking as high as 900,000 per month. On average about 109,000 truckers are hired each month. Note, this number is big because the trucking occupation has a lot of churn, meaning people move in and out of jobs very rapidly—which inflates hiring activity.
A sharp increase in postings like this signals a couple of important points.
1. The high number of postings indicates an urgent need. If companies are willing to spend money on ads like this, it likely means they are more desperate to find talent. That said, the ads don’t actually indicate that employers intend to hire 900,000 new truck drivers (an easy assumption to make). Rather, it simply means employers are working harder and spending more money in order to advertise. Read more about that here.
2. The number of job postings also indicates that we might have some inefficiency in the market. If employers have to sweat this much to find workers, there might be a supply problem. It is a tough occupation and getting a license to be a truck driver is fairly expensive. Whatever the reasons, fewer and fewer people are interested in the job, despite the fact that the money can be pretty good (median hourly earnings are $18.31/hour in the US).
For further reading, we found these articles (here, here, and here) which shed some light on why employers struggle to fill these jobs. Perhaps truck driving, as an industry, really is crying out for more robotics? If people won’t take these jobs, it may force employers’ hands a bit.
Every state, excluding Alabama and Maine, experienced employment growth since 2010. Much of that growth occurred in places like North Dakota (113%), Texas (26%), Utah (26%), and Michigan (19%). Florida (9,600 new jobs) and Pennsylvania (8,700 new jobs) also added large numbers of truck driving jobs. We would expect that some of this growth will likely be dampened by the decline in oil production.
Truck drivers, not surprisingly, tend to be male. The workforce is also a bit older; 56% of the workforce is above 45 years old.
The most common levels of education are a high school diploma and some college.
Nearly 34% of all truckers (about 627,000) work for various forms of long-distance general and specialized trucking companies. Many of them (18% or 326,000) are employed by companies more focused on local delivery. Other common industries include household and office goods moving, general warehousing and storage, concrete manufacturing, solid waste collection, and couriers.
If your company is dealing with difficult talent issues and would like to see data for another set of occupations or industries, please email Rob Sentz. We would love to help.
Emsi turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers (such as WIBs, EDOs, chambers, utilities) build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions. For more information, email Josh Wright or visit www.economicmodeling.com.