An article titled “Collapsing trucker demand could foreshadow looming recession” was published by Fox Business on Tuesday. Shocking, right? Once you get past the clickbait headline, you realize what they’re actually talking about is truckload demand, not drivers. Is there also a drop in driver demand?
How to put this nicely? Not only no, but Hell no. Truckers will always be in demand. With 100%+ turnover rates in the enterprise carriers, there will always be a high demand for qualified drivers.
Especially now, with rates nearing $2.94/mile in the spot markets and $2.81/mile in the contracts. They need just as many drivers to haul that “cheap freight.” Think of it as a big whale needing to eat as much plankton as it can to keep going. Those carriers digest drivers constantly to keep going.
In my 14+ years of driving OTR, I went through the big 5 – Swift (even though I applied at M.S. Carriers), J.B. Hunt, Werner, Schneider, and Landstar Systems. And yes, it followed the three-year cycle almost to a tee. Freight came in, they ran my tail off. Freight dried up, I sat for a couple of days waiting for a dispatch or a profitable haul. After a couple of weeks and an empty wallet, you have to move on to whoever was the go-to with constant work. That is what’s happening now. Drivers are moving around looking for the highest bidder for their services. Walmart pledges $110,000/ year, Landstar boasts $400,000, so on and so forth.
I hate it when “major news outlets” just read the AP wire and think they know what is going on. My advice to “THEM” is to go out to the truck stops and parking areas. Go and actually talk to these drivers and warehouse workers grinding day in and day out. A little legwork would not hurt after the sedentary lifestyle COVID caused during the last two years. Things are often different than that piece of copy you get before sunrise.