A couple of months ago, I considered packing up my life and going on the road. I was imagining a world where every day I could experience a different horizon, and I would have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the United States on a solitary road trip. That is the life of some truck drivers, and a life that I was willing to trade my current life in for. I happily anticipated encountering many different weather patterns throughout the seasons while getting paid for my journey. However, upon reading the job duties of truck drivers and the sacrifices they make for their work I’m starting to reconsider.
I was able to consider the option of becoming a truck driver, when I learned that one of the emergent job industry trends is the continued employment of truck drivers. Here we will explore the growth of the economy in comparison to job trends. Moreover, we will make an attempt to explain whether or not the new rise of employment opportunities in the trucking industry is a direct indication of an opening job market, or if the growth is related to socioeconomic factors.
- First, we will compare social and economic trends to the growth of the trucking industry in an attempt to understand if the growth of truck driving jobs is an indication of an improving economy.
- In the following paragraphs we will look into the regulations and responsibilities of truck drivers and the condition of the economy in association with supply and demand for products.
- Ultimately, we will discuss why we believe the opening of the trucking jobs may or may not be a sign that the economy is improving.
The Truck Driver…
A truck driver must possess a special license in order to move different U.S. regulated cargo throughout the states. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration the hours for truck drivers are regulated (since 2008) to limit hours of continuous driving without rest. All drivers may not work more than 14 straight hours and 11 hours can be spent driving while the leftover hours can be used to complete other work related task. Drivers also can only drive 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours within 8 days. These provisions have been set by the US Department of Labor in an attempt to make the occupation of truck driving and the roads safer. Although these regulations exist the work of a long-haul truck driver is still very demanding, sometimes requiring that drivers spend days and weeks away from their homes.
According to Trucking.org, there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States and the total industry employment of truck drivers is over 8.7 million. The 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. have a majority age range between 45 and 55 years old. This information can suggests that some truck drivers will be reaching the age of retirement within a couple of years, and can lead to the increased need for more drivers.
According to the Department of Labor Statistics the turnover rate and driver shortage for people employed as truck drivers is higher than other occupations. An article in USA Today from May this year discusses how these shortages are affecting other aspects of our economy. Different trucking companies have confronted the demand for truck drivers by increasing their visibility to the public (creating websites, free training programs, and other tactics to announce employment opportunities) and raising the pay.
Trucking in the US – Trends and Facts
The world of Trucking has always been a thriving business, regardless of government regulations and high turnover. Truck drivers make up a significant portion of the freight business. Trucks are responsible for the movement of 69 % of cargo (or total United States freight tonnage) in the freight world. Truck drivers are responsible for shipping a variety of things that fit into four different categories: general freight trucking, specialized freight trucking, wholesale trade, and manufacturing. Therefore, truck drivers supply a majority of demanded products in the United States and the trucking industry is a driving economic force.
In conclusion, according to the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the year 2010, it was projected that the truck driver’s occupation would grow 21 percent (which is a larger projected growth than many other job occupations). In addition, trucking has already grown a significant percentage in 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the growth of trucking jobs is due to the ever changing demand and growth of the economy.
However, other factors that deal with social and economic patterns of the United States may also lead to the availability of truck driving jobs. These patterns include the aging of truck drivers, the high turnover rate of truck drivers, and the time characteristics and restraints of long haul truck driving.