Trucking companies finding it hard to “seat” drivers in their tractors will have an even tougher time recruiting the skilled people they want to hire in coming months. The latest employment data from the US Census Bureau shows they’re already struggling, with trucking payroll numbers flat in April even as the US economy expands and unemployment dwindles.
That has implications for carriers, which have been adding trucks and expanding fleets in anticipation of stronger economic demand in the months ahead, and shippers that depend on the ready availability of trucks and drivers to haul goods and keep freight rates stable. There’s plenty of overcapacity right now in terms of trucks, but not, perhaps, when it comes to drivers.
The US economy added 211,000 jobs in April, pushing the national unemployment rate down to 4.4 percent, a new low that compares favorably with a 5 percent unemployment rate a year ago and a 4.8 percent rate in January. The last time the US unemployment rate was this low was exactly 10 years ago, in May 2007, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
Economists have been talking about “full employment” since the unemployment rate hit 5 percent in late 2015. Full employment doesn’t mean everyone has a job, but that those who want a job can find one. The unemployment rate hasn’t been lower than 4.4 percent since May 2001, which means the United States is as close to full employment as its been in almost two decades.
Related: Coralville Courier Jobs Board