Driver turnover declined in the first quarter because a softer freight economy limited shipment volumes and reduced the incentives for drivers to switch to a new employer, American Trucking Associations reported.
The rate among larger fleets, with $30 million or more in revenue, was 89%, down from 102% in the fourth quarter, ATA reported July 6. Smaller carriers’ churn dropped a single percentage point to 88%.
As a result, driver churn slipped back into line for both types of carriers after a fourth-quarter report when the trends diverged by fleet size. In that fourth-quarter report, the gap between larger and smaller carriers was 13 percentage points. The 13-point difference was close to the full year 2015 total of 14 points, reflecting the 93% level at larger carriers and 79% at smaller ones.
“While still fairly high, the decline in turnover is reflective of the softening in the freight economy during the first quarter,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Should the freight economy witness an uptick during the second half of the year, we should see both turnover and demand for drivers rise as well.”
The larger fleets’ churn was the lowest since the second quarter of 2015.
Among less-than-truckload carriers, the turnover pace was 8%, a sequential drop of three percentage points and the best mark in nearly three years.