Truck Drivers Needed to Help Move Economy

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A longtime staple of America's middle class workforce, the United States' 1.8 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers account for 23 percent of all transportation and have a big impact on the economy. Since 2010, the profession has grown 7.8 percent – faster than the rate for all jobs (5.5 percent).

However, new data from JobsInMotion.com – a CareerBuilder employment site – and Economic Modeling Specialists suggests the supply of willing and qualified drivers may be lagging behind demand from employers.

What does this mean for drivers today and in the future? Read on to learn more about the current state of the industry and if this career is right for you.

An industry in need
Everything from food to goods to animals can be moved by truck, and drivers are needed to transport these items to customers and suppliers. However, demand is outpacing supply for drivers, which can stall economic growth if these positions aren't filled.

From August 2013 through July 2014, there were on average 298,000 unique job listings* for truck drivers per month. This compares to 131,000 monthly average hires over this time frame, indicating that many available truck driving jobs likely remain open for extended periods of time.** Moreover, 56 percent of all drivers are 45 or older. As more workers in the profession retire, replacing them could prove difficult.

"Median wages for truck drivers is anywhere between $18 and $21 per hour depending on the market, but this pay isn't always enough to attract young drivers who are unwilling to sacrifice work-life balance," says Rob Morris, director of JobsInMotion.com. "Employers have to do more to incentivize job candidates, whether that's by offering signing bonuses and more generous compensation packages or by covering training and licensure costs. Additionally, companies should be working closely with regional schools and CDL training facilities to build recruiting pipelines and better market the profession."

Top 10 metros for heavy and tractor-trailer truck driving jobs
There are some corners of the country that have an even higher demand for drivers. The following list includes the major U.S. metros with the fastest post-recession job growth for truck drivers. Half of the metros on the list have more average monthly job postings than hires, meaning recruitment for truck drivers in those areas may be more competitive than other cities.
Metro area 2010 - 2014 % change 2014 jobs Avg. monthly unique postings Avg. monthly hires (2013)
Austin, Texas 23% 5,936 888 511
San Jose, Calif. 21% 5,105 359 388
San Antonio, Texas 21% 10,182 1,018 957
Dallas-Fort Worth 20% 45,177 6,070 3,686
Sacramento, Calif. 18% 9,496 521 736
Houston 18% 41,276 3,118 3,253
Grand Rapids, Mich. 17% 8,742 867 544
Miami 16% 21,570 1,180 1,685
Nashville, Tenn. 15% 15,031 2,459 1,128
Detroit 15% 22,897 3,282 1,591

This job allows you to travel, see new and favorite parts of the country and earn a lucrative paycheck, all while keeping the economy moving and materials in motion. Areas with higher job postings offer more opportunities for new drivers, and employers are searching for experienced drivers as well. This all means that a move to the trucking industry can be a great career move that offers plenty of excitement and security.

*EMSI's unique job posting data is deduplicated, meaning job listings posted on multiple sites are only counted once.
**Average monthly hires includes new job creation as well as openings created due to job turnover.
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