Today’s Pickup: Turnover rate rises, but remains near historic lows

 Driver turnover for truckload carriers rose in the first quarter, at just 75% remains near historic lows. (Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/Arne Huckelheim )
Driver turnover for truckload carriers rose in the first quarter, at just 75% remains near historic lows. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Arne Huckelheim )

Good day,

The trucking turnover rate at truckload fleets remains near historical lows, but it did tick up a bit in the first quarter of 2017, said the American Trucking Associations.

The annualized turnover rate at large truckload fleets, defined as those with annual revenues greater than $30 million, rose three percentage points to 74% in the first quarter. That is up from the 71% rate at the end of 2016 and is 15 points lower than the first quarter of 2016.

“The slight uptick in turnover, despite weak freight volumes in the first quarter, may be indicative of a tightening in the driver market,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “The situation bears watching because if the freight economy picks up significantly, turnover will surely accelerate – as will concerns about the driver shortage.”

The turnover rate at small truckload fleets rose two points to 66%, 22 points lower than at this time in 2016. The turnover rate at less-than-truckload carriers also rose 2 points and is now at 10%.

Did you know?

Security firm Symantec reports that one in every 131 emails sent in 2016 contained malware, and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section says there were more than 4,000 ransomware attacks on businesses per day in 2016.


“We cannot measure the financial impact of this service disruption at this time, but it could be material.”

– FedEx, in a press release on the financial impact to its TNT Express unit following a cyberattack last week.  

In other news:

Incentivizing drivers

Simply financial bonuses for clean inspections is helping one fleet improve its safety scores and giving drivers financial incentive to learn about their trucks. (CCJ)

Advice to ELD buyers

As the ELD deadline fast approaches, one industry expert is warning fleets to be sure they are getting what they want in a device, not just choosing the cheapest option. (Fleet Owner)

Diesel prices rise slightly

Following a week in which a barrel of oil rose on five consecutive days, the price of diesel fuel rose slightly last week to a national average of $2.47. (Transport Topics)

Manufacturing index rises in April

The Institute for Supply Management reported that U.S. manufacturing activity rose to 57.8 in June, bettering economists expectations of a more modest rise from April. The index is at its highest level since August 2014. (Wall Street Journal)

ABF to add dimensional pricing

ABF Freight Systems is moving to a dimensional pricing model for LTL shipments and setting minimum pricing for shipments. (Logistics Management)

Final Thoughts

While the driver turnover rate for truckload carriers remains low, it is not a time for companies to scale back on driver recruitment and retention programs. All indications are pointing to an economy that continues to improve, albeit slowly, and that could start to pull drivers into other professions such as construction or manufacturing. Fleets need to keep the good drivers they have.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.