Latest turnover numbers show tight driver market continues

Driver turnover rates at smaller truckload carriers dropped in the third quarter of last year but rose by double digits for large ones during the same time.

The American Trucking Associations today (Feb. 1) said the annualized turnover rate at smaller truckload carriers dropped to 68 percent, its lowest point since the final quarter in 2011. However, for larger fleets that rate rose by 13 points to 100 percent, the highest it has been in three years, according to the ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello.

“It is just one data point, so it is hard to draw any real conclusions on what is happening with turnover,” Costello said. “However, the increase in the turnover rate at large carriers matches up with what we’ve been hearing anecdotally from fleets: that the market for drivers continues to be tight.”

A statement from the ATA said for the first three quarters of 2015, the turnover rate for larger carriers – those with more than $30 million in annual revenue – averaged 90 percent, down slightly from 2014’s average of 95 percent. The small carrier rate averaged 75 percent year-to-date, a significant dip from the 90 percent it averaged in 2014, according to the ATA.

It’s a slightly different story at less-than-truckload carriers. The ATA said the turnover rate at LTL fleets dipped three points to 10 percent in the third quarter and averaged 10 percent for the first nine months of 2015 – down from the 11 percent it averaged for 2014.

“The split in the truckload turnover rates is not unusual, but may be caused by a variety and combination of factors,” Costello said. “We may likely have a clearer picture of the driver market once fourth quarter turnover figures are in so we can better analyze any possible trend.”