US trucker shortage eases as demand slows

Logistics professionals are returning to the corporate sector. Truck drivers who struck out on their own during the pandemic are signing up with trucking firms again, and operations staff are applying for jobs at forwarders.

The labour shortage that impacted many firms over the past couple of years is abating, as the US market is facing a downturn.

The shortage of truck drivers, widely seen as one of the biggest bottlenecks in logistics over that period, has eased and the American Trucking Associations estimates the US trucking sector was 78,000 drivers short last year, which is down from the record-setting 80,000 shortage of 2021.

In 2021 the pool of drivers employed by trucking firms shrank as high freight rates encouraged many drivers to strike out on their own. The slowdown in volume in the second half of 2022, combined with rising fuel and other costs, forced a growing number of those would be entrepreneurs to seek employment again.

“People are knocking on doors again,” said Helmuth Berchtold, head of the US arm of logistics recruitment specialist adi Consult. Over the past two years he found it difficult to present suitable recruits to corporate clients, but now has candidates available – although highly qualified sales people remain hard to find, he added.