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What’s happening with truck driver turnover with COVID-19?

The coronavirus pandemic has definitely led to a lot of changes and challenges – there’s no denying that. Pretty much everyone and everything has been affected by the pandemic. One thing that was impacted by COVID-19 is the driver turnover rate in the trucking industry, an interesting effect of the virus: the turnover rate in the trucking world dropped during the second quarter. 

Driver turnover and the pandemic.

One article states that the driver turnover rate dropped to its lowest rate since the end of 2018 for larger truck carriers and to the lowest rate since 2011 for smaller carriers. 

Though the second quarter was off to a bumpy start as far as the driver market was concerned, it stabilized towards the end of the quarter. The many safety restrictions in place across the country due to the pandemic had a big impact on the trucking world, and COVID-19 affected the truck driver market. These restrictions affected the entire country and the entire economy, and the trucking industry was no exception. 

During the pandemic, there are still demands for goods (as opposed to services, which have been more heavily impacted by the pandemic). Of course, the goods-producing sector relies heavily on trucks. The goods have to get where they need to go. That has helped over-the-road carriers. Other factors that are helping the freight sector are the fact that people are channelling more money towards goods rather than experiences, inventory demand, favorable energy prices, and favorable interest rates, according to one article. 

Impact on freight in different sectors.

However, the impact on the freight sector isn’t completely even across the board. August saw a drop in the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index. While consumer-driven loads did okay, loads having to do with industry or energy were not so great. In general, fleets hauling for retailers saw better freight volumes than those hauling industrial materials. (It’s important to note that the industrial products weigh more than consumer goods, so they count more heavily – no pun intended – than consumer-goods loads as far as tonnage calculations go.) 

What does the future hold?

ACT Research’s Transportation Digest notes that freight is recovering from the pandemic in a V-shaped pattern, as opposed to the U.S. economy as a whole, which is following a more K-shaped pattern. Other sectors are going through an L-shaped recovery trajectory. August might not have been such a strong month for trucking, but it’s anticipated that the trucking industry will keep bouncing back in the months to come. 

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