July 9, 2014 10:00 AM, EDT
Truckload Turnover Holds Over 90% in First Quarter
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News

Turnover at large truckload carriers rose slightly to 92% in the first quarter, holding above 90% for the ninth straight quarter, American Trucking Associations reported July 9.

Over-the-road truckload turnover rates were largely unchanged from the fourth quarter, but they were down 5 percentage points from 97% in the same period last year, ATA said in its quarterly report.

“While high, turnover at large truckload carriers is lower than other years when the driver shortage was as acute,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “In 2005, turnover averaged 130%, while in 2006, another year with a tight driver market, it averaged 117%.”

While churn at large truckload fleets with annual revenue of at least $30 million was 92%, turnover at truckload fleets with revenue below that level slipped 1% from the previous quarter to 78%.

Since the first quarter of 2012, driver turnover has been relatively stable for smaller TL carriers, fluctuating between 76% and 82%, ATA said.

Turnover remained low for less-than-truckload fleets, with a 10% annualized first-quarter rate. That was the lowest level in three quarters and down slightly from 11% last year.

“The industry has 30,000 to 35,000 unfilled truck driver jobs,” Costello said. “As the industry starts to haul more because demand goes up, we’ll need to add more drivers — nearly 100,000 in the next decade — in order to keep pace.”