Trucking industry trends: Driver shortage and freight capacity

Given the upcoming election, solutions to long-term unemployment and job creation are about to become round-the-clock talking points in the news. It’s clear that both parties want to appeal to those left in the cold after the economic downturn– and after 2008, few people were left unaffected.


At last count, unemployment stands at 9.1%. Interestingly, despite the lag in hiring, economic reports have shown there are some industries that are consistently understaffed.

The most significant examples are in healthcare and trucking. In these industries, new positions often go unfilled due to what’s called a “labor mismatch.” Among the 14 million people in the US that are looking for work, few have the skills or the ability to fill those jobs at a rate consistent with their growth.

The trucking industry serves as the backbone of the American economy, employing 7 million people and moving over 70% of US freight across all industries. Trucking also took a huge hit in 2008, but it rebounded quickly and has since been unable to recruit and retain drivers. Some in the industry say carrier turnover and labor conditions contribute to the shortage.

Analysts say the transportation industry is short of about 125,000 drivers — which puts a strain on freight capacity and, in turn, raises the overall cost of transport.

Here’s an excellent NPR report on the trucking industry that aired on Monday.

Despite the industry-wide shortage of drivers, uShip continues to grow as a resource for trucking carriers and shipping customers — allowing transport companies to fill all available cargo space. Smaller owner-operators compete directly with larger trucking carriers in our marketplace.

On uShip, truckers (including many veteran drivers that have started their own businesses) and carriers have instant access to loads all over the country, including while on the road using our uShip Mobile app.

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