U.S. fleets saw little change to driver turnover rates in the fourth quarter of 2020, with an annualized rate of 92% among large truckload carriers.
The churn among smaller truckload carriers fell 2% to 72%, while LTL carriers experienced driver turnover of 12%, a 2% decline.
For the full year 2020, large truckload carriers experienced 90% driver turnover, down 1% from 2019, while small truckload fleets experienced 69% driver turnover. “With the continued tightness in the driver market, it may seem surprising that the turnover rate didn’t jump in the fourth quarter as economic activity and freight traffic increased,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “However, paradoxically, strong freight demand may have actually contributed to turnover staying steady by keeping drivers – particularly those engaged in the dry van and temperature-controlled sectors – too busy to change jobs.
“With the impact of recently passed fiscal stimulus, and the quickening pace of vaccinations in the U.S., we are likely to see continued improvement in the economy which will drive not just healthier freight volumes, but are likely to create even more demand for drivers, tightening the market, so motor carriers need to remain focused on driver retention. While the driver shortage temporarily eased slightly in 2020 during the depths of the pandemic, continued tightness in the driver market remains an operational challenge for motor carriers and they should expect it to continue through 2021 and beyond.”