October 3, 2018 2:30 PM, EDT

Driver Turnover Rises 4% at Large Truckload Fleets, ATA Reports

LTL Sector Also Jumps, Pointing to Widening Shortage of Qualified Truckers, Economist Says
A truck driver in IndianaTerrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

The annualized rate of driver turnover at large truckload fleets in the second quarter jumped 4 percentage points year-over-year to 98%, according to American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Activity Report.

The quarterly jump for large carriers — those with more than $30 million in annual revenue — put the churn rate at its highest point since the fourth quarter of 2015, according to ATA.

At the same time, turnover in the first half of the year averaged 96%, setting 2018 on pace to have the highest annual turnover rate since 2013.

“So far this year, the turnover rate at large truckload fleets is up 10 percentage points,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement. “The extreme tightening of the driver market, driven by solid freight demand, will continue to challenge fleets looking for qualified drivers.”

Bob Costello


Meanwhile, smaller truckload carriers fared better than larger fleets.

Their churn rate dipped 1 percentage point to 72% and is down 14 points from the same time last year.

“Like large carriers, small truckload carriers have been aggressively raising pay this year, which has helped their turnover rate level off,” he said.

Less-than-truckload carriers felt the deepening impact of turnover, too.

LTL turnover jumped 4 percentage points to 14% — or the highest mark for this traditionally stable sector since the first quarter of 2013.

“While much lower than the truckload sector, seeing this kind of jump in the LTL market tells me that this sector is struggling with drivers more than in the recent past,” Costello said, “and suggests the industry’s issues finding qualified drivers are continuing to deepen across the board.”