Shortage Of Truckers Could Make Pretty Much Everything More Expensive

Many trucking companies cut staff in the height of the recession a few years ago. Now that business is picking back up, they're finding themselves hard-pressed for drivers. The drivers who are left are charging more, and now folks who need to ship things are bitchin' about it.

Marty Koppelman, who runs a manufacturing company, told the Detroit Free Press; "It's been extremely busy, so there were not enough trucks to handle all the volume. When that happens, the truckers are very selective, so they're only going to take the loads when they make the most money and have a round trip. They know they have you. They jack that price up."

No shit, so would I.

Freep goes on cite the American Trucking Associations claiming the US needs "another 30,000 truck drivers" to bring a what I guess they consider a more favorable balance to supply and demand. Apparently about 3.2 million truckers are employed in America, moving some 70% of all US freight. The US Department of Labor puts their average income at $38,200 a year.

About a year ago, regulations changed regarding how many hours truckers were allowed to work in an attempt to mitigate people piloting semi-trucks in a haze of drowsiness. The trucking industry is of course unhappy with this, blaming "spiking trucking costs" on such limits.

Less truckers working less hours means their services are in shorter supply, and they'll be able to charge more to move the 9 billion tons of stuff other businesses need to survive. That makes higher cost for retailers, which of course they'll pass on to us consumers.

Maybe it's a good time to think about getting that Commercial Driver's License! Until we hit another recession of course, and shippers slash-and-burn drivers all over again.

Image: AP