As companies across the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, trucking experts are concerned that their industry may be left as employment.
Robby Wilson has run his Sacramento, California-based driver training company for more than 27 years and said he has never seen anything like it before.
“I have several jobs that I can fill right now,” Wilson said, reiterating feelings from others struggling to fill vacancies.
Wilson said he has dozens of companies that continue to contact him in hopes he can send them potential employees. He said some now offer sign-on bonuses and have increased salaries. The problem is that he does not have enough interns.
Bob Economello, chief economist at the American Trucking Association, said consumers could pay the price for these companies’ incentives and increased wages.
“The schools for trucking were closed for a period and then opened with limited capacity,” Costello said. He said the industry did not train enough people last year, which has played a role in the current shortage.
According to a 2019 report published by the American Trucking Association, in 2018 the truck industry had approximately 60,800 drivers. The association estimated that the number could only continue to grow.
Costello said this is a growing problem and that it has been brought to the attention of millions of people during the pandemic.
In the early days of the pandemic, consumer stores ran out of things like soap and toilet paper. Costello said more people were focused on the supply chain, which in turn has shed light on this issue.
The American Trucking Association estimates that truckers carry more than 72.5% of all goods transported in the United States.
Wilson said there are not enough people on the way to fill the current open jobs: “Some people have retired, there is COVID, there are many different factors that come into play.”
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