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Using Data to Understand the Commercial Truck Driver Shortage

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Is the US logistics industry facing a dire shortage of commercial truck drivers?

Truckload brokerage experts and logistics journalists have been going back and forth on the question for years.

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Drivers are indispensable to our lifestyle. They keep food, clothes, medicine, books, gadgets, and almost anything else you can name, on our shelves. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, there were over 14 million job postings for truck drivers. In other words, they are in extremely high demand, and failure to meet this demand over the long term will have widespread consequences.

This may be a uniquely important moment for investigating and defining the potential trucking shortage. The effects of the pandemic and accompanying response have been massive. Online shopping and the consequent demand for delivery has skyrocketed, while service industry jobs have vanished. Intuition suggests that trucking jobs would grow enormously under these conditions—but to understand what has actually happened, we need to bring data to bear.

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isometric illustration of shipping containers

In this report, we combine labor market data and on-the-ground insights of logistics industry leaders. We hope to paint a nuanced picture of the extent and shape of the commercial trucking shortage, the complications introduced by the unique circumstances of the past year, and the possible steps toward solutions that benefit truckers and businesses alike.

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