Truckload Carriers’ Driver Turnover Remains High in 3Q

The annualized line-haul driver turnover rate at large truckload fleets remained over 100% for the second straight month, and the churn at smaller truckload carriers rose to a five-year high, according to American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Activity Report.

At fleets who report more than $30 million in annual revenue, driver turnover dipped 2 percentage points to 104%, just off the five-year high of 106% reported in the second quarter. It is the first time since the fourth quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 that the turnover rate has pierced the 100% barrier in consecutive months.

“Increasing competition for quality drivers, coupled with gradual, albeit choppy, growth in demand for trucking services, continues to put pressure on the driver market,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello.

At fleets with less than $30 million in annual revenue, this competition contributed to an eight-point jump in driver turnover during the quarter. At 94%, turnover among small fleets is now at its highest point since the first quarter of 2007.

“These numbers continue to reflect a tight driver market, and an actual shortage for drivers,” Costello said. “We believe the industry is actually short between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers, but if freight volumes were to accelerate, I would expect that number to grow and grow rapidly.

The turnover rate for less-than-truckload fleets averaged just 8% in the second quarter, down from 9% in the previous quarter. This marks the fourth straight quarter that the LTL turnover rate was less than 10%.

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