Driver turnover rate climbs slightly in third quarter, ATA reports

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The turnover rate at large truckload fleets rose a percentage point to 97 percent in 2014’s third quarter from the prior quarter, according to number released today (Jan. 28) by the American Trucking Associations.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says economic gains in 2015 could make the driver turnover rate climb even higher.

“Driver turnover, which is a good baromater of the driver market, remains high,” Costello said. “While it is not approaching its historic highs of the early 2000s, continued economic growth and increased freight demand will continue to exacerbate the shortage of drivers many sectors of the industry are witnessing.”

The turnover rate at LTL carriers — though well below the rate at truckload fleets — also rose from 11 percent to 13 percent in the third quarter. The turnover rate at small truckload fleets held at 94 percent.

Costello says the high turnover rate at small carriers — defined as those with less than $30 million in revenue — signals that recruiting incentives at larger fleets may be luring away drivers at smaller carriers.

“It is interesting to note, historically, the turnover rate for small truckload fleets was much lower than for larger carriers,” Costello said. “However, with increasing pressure to recruit and retain good, experienced drivers, we’re seeing higher turnover rates at small fleets – with perhaps improving pay and benefit packages at large carriers being a reason.”