Long Haul Driver Turnover Plummets to New Four Year Low

August 25, 2015

Long Haul Truckers

Truckers certainly enjoy "free agency," as ATA economist Bob Costello calls it. Signing bonuses and competitive rates per mile spur many truckers to jump from one employer to another frequently. Early in 2015, however, we saw the lowest turnover rate since 2009.

First quarter job numbers showed an 84% turnover rate according to the Wall Street Journal. In the last quarter of 2014, that number was 96%. The rate had been over 90% for several years. We'll have to see if the trend continues and more drivers choose to stay with their current employer.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Only some of the turnover comes from retirements and career changes. Truckers jumping ship for a different employer account for the majority of all turnover.

Many factors affect the driver job market, but it all comes down to money. A hot market spurs companies to offer incentives to new drivers. Companies can offer raises to keep drivers, but ultimately we tend to see a lot of movement as drivers scout the best job offers available.

Perhaps turnover has slowed down a bit simply because the shipping industry has been a little stagnant this year. Panama Canal delays that affected West Coast shipments and other market factors have led to less growth. Trucking continues to see strong numbers overall, but a slower market means more drivers stick with their current employer.

Of course, 84% means a lot of drivers continue to change jobs. Drivers looking for a fresh change of scenery can sell a truck, by a new one, and find new opportunities for better routes and higher pay.

Have you left one employer for another in 2015 or are you considering filing for "free agency" and testing the waters? Let us know your thoughts on the trucker job market in the comments, and check out our new and used semi truck listings to find your next set of wheels.

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