The 2015 trucking industry numbers are very impressive…but there’s a hidden danger.
FleetOwner published its “Trucking by the Numbers 2015,” which tracks changes in the industry for 2013 and 2014. In almost every capacity, the numbers are taking a positive trajectory. The publication has created a series of infographics that detail Economics, Employment, Drivers, Equipment, Fuel, and more. But the general “Basic Numbers 2015” infographic really says it all. Here are just a few examples:
Revenue – $700.4 billion in 2014 (up from $681.7 billion in 2013)
Tonnage – 9.96 billion tons in 2014 (up from 9.7 billion tons in 2013)
Class 8 U.S. Retail Truck Sales – 220,400 in 2014 (up from 184,800 in 2013)
Class 7 U.S. Retail Truck Sales – 173,000 in 2014 (up from 155,000 in 2013)
So what could possibly be the bad news? Well, as is all too often the case in our industry, it’s the fact that although the industry is growing, the number of qualified drivers is not keeping up with demand. In fact, FleetOwner cites a new study by the ATA, which estimates that the industry will need to hire 890,000 drivers within the next ten years to meet rising demand and driver retirement. Nearly 48,000 will need to be hired this year alone, and if the economy continues to grow, that number will exceed 70,000 next year.
However, it’s not all gloom and doom when it comes to drivers. FleetOwner, in its “By the Number” infographics, notes that there is growth when it comes to women and minorities. The increase in women drivers was 5.8% in 2014, a small uptick from 2013. There are now 197,000 women drivers; since women make up nearly half of the potential workforce, there is definitely room for growth there. For minorities, that also grew; 38.6% in 2014, up from 36/5% in 2013. There are now estimated to be 1.3 million minority drivers.
Once the industry finds that secret sauce to attract drivers into the profession, the positive sales and revenue numbers will hopefully get even more impressive.