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Driver turnover increases 6%

The driver turnover rate for large truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers increased during the first quarter of 2007, according to the American Trucking Associations.

The increase pushed the rate to its highest since the end of 2005.

ATA, which began collecting driver turnover statistics in 1995, reported that turnover for large truckload carriers was at a 127% annualized rate for the first three months of the year. This figure was 6 percentage points higher than during the last three months of 2006. The group ended the quarter with 1.8% fewer drivers than it had at the start.

Large TL driver turnover posted a 116 percent annualized rate for the 2006 first quarter. Turnover peaked at 136 percent for large TL carriers during the 2005 fourth quarter.

“The softer freight demand contributed to the increase in large TL driver turnover,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Nearly 80 percent of the large carriers in our sample saw their number of employee drivers fall during the period. In some cases, the drivers that left were not replaced, due to soft and choppy freight levels.”

Small TL carriers saw the average annualized turnover rate drop to 102 percent from 112 percent during the first three months of the year. The small carrier turnover rate has been at least 100 percent for six consecutive quarters.

Small carriers added 3.5% to their driver ranks, marking the second consecutive quarterly gain in the number of drivers.

The LTL market, by comparison, reduced overall employment during the 2007 first quarter by 1.6%.

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