Truckers' paycheck is flying high, but there's still shortage of drivers

America's truck driver shortage is driving pay higher. But it's not solving the shortage of truckers.

During the pandemic, the online purchases skyrocketed and it drove demand for delivery truck drivers.That increased the competition, but it hasn't persuaded enough people to take the long-distance driving jobs that the industry needs to fill.

Huge turnover

The pay hikes are instead persuading many drivers to bounce from company to company.

The average annual turnover rate for drivers is about 95% for truckload carriers,  while truckload carriers are experiencing the industry's most severe driver shortages.

Drivers appreciate the increased pay of course, but they're keeping an eye on what's being offered elsewhere. 

Isn't it ironic?

Ironically, rising pay itself may be sharpening the shortages it's designed to solve. Many drivers are using the larger paychecks to cut down on their driving. "Drivers want to be home more. They have expressed that to us," said Tim Norlin, vice president of driver employment at Roehl.

Rising pay 

Trucking companies are boosting pay to keep drivers on their payrolls. This week, Roehl put in place its second pay increase of this year, which together should increase driver pay at the company about $4,000 to $6,000 a year.

Drug Test

One factor that has reduced the supply of drivers is a new federal clearinghouse that alerts carriers to drivers who have failed drug tests, DUIs or other substance abuse problems on their records. Some 54,000 drivers have been barred from driving since the clearing house went into effect in early 2020.