In 2005, ATA commissioned this study that confirmed the trucking industry was experiencing a
shortage of approximately 20,000 long-haul drivers. The shortage was caused by several factors,
including an aging workforce and growing freight volumes.
Since the recession beginning in December 2007, this is no longer the case. There are still
some jobs available in the trucking industry, but the driver shortage is no longer so severe.
With the recession sending tonnage figures down more than 20 percent since the beginning of
2008, the driver shortage appears to have vanished. While ATA has not repeated the 2005 study,
anecdotal reports make clear that there is currently no measurable shortage of drivers (August
In 2008, 3,065 trucking companies with five or more trucks went bankrupt. Many smaller
companies and owner-operators also left the business. Trucking companies that are surviving the
recession have laid off drivers and parked tractors. At the same time, delayed retirements,
layoffs and company failures in other sectors of the economy have spurred jobseekers to seek
training to become truck drivers.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that truck driving jobs now are highly competitive. Jobs are more
likely to go to drivers with experience and a safe driving record. This does not mean that this is
a bad time to train to become a driver. When the recession ends, and freight volumes begin to
grow again, a driver shortage again may result soon after.
Until then, there are driving jobs available and trucking companies are hiring, but in much
smaller numbers, and much more selectively.
The U.S. Truck Driver Shortage:
Analysis and Forecasts
American Trucking Associations
Global Insight, Inc.
The U.S. Truck Driver Shortage: Analysis and Forecast
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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