Welcome back for another edition of Randall-Reilly’s Weekly Report. Each week we cover the latest driver recruiting data and a story of the week to give you insight into the current state of driver recruiting. This week’s story of the week – the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports trucking industry employment levels are still below pre-pandemic levels. Where have all the drivers gone?
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Numbers At A Glance – May 26, 2021
Truck Driver Searches
|WoW: ∇ Down 25%|
|MoM: ∇ Down 41%|
|YoY: ∇ Down 19%|
|WoW: ∇ Down 10%
Volume by Segment
|WoW: Dry Van ∇ Down 15%|
|WoW: Refrigerated ∇ Down 10%|
|WoW: Flatbed ∇ Down 8%|
|WoW: Δ Up 3¢ per mile
Clicks On Truck Driver Postings
|WoW: ≡ Flat|
|MoM: Δ Up 36%|
|YoY: Δ Up 11%
|WoW: Δ Up 5%|
Truck Posting by Segment
|WoW: Dry Van ∇ Down 3%|
|WoW: Refrigerated Δ Up 4%|
|WoW: Flatbed Δ Up 5%|
Rates by Segment
|WoW: Dry Van ∇ Down 1/2¢ per mile|
|WoW: Refrigerated Δ Up 2¢ per mile|
|WoW: Flatbed Δ Up 3¢ per mile
May 26, 2021 Driver Recruiting Insights
Would you like to have your own copy of the trucking industry data? All of the information covered in this week’s report for May 26, 2021, is available for your convenience in PDF form below.
Click the image to download the May 26, 2021, Driver Recruiting Insights PDF.
Weekly Report – May 26, 2021 Transcript
Welcome to the Weekly Report. For Randall-Reilly, I’m Joshua Miller. We have a lot to get to this week so let’s start the report for Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
THIS WEEK IN JOB BOARD SEARCHES AND CLICKS
Last week’s click activity on truck driver postings remained flat, while searches decreased. It would seem that while the pool of drivers searching for jobs is shrinking, those that are looking are actively searching as opposed to simply browsing.
Truck driver searches were down 25% WoW, 41% MoM, and 19% YoY, while clicks on truck driver postings were flat WoW, up 36% MoM, and up 11% YoY.
One final note here on job board activity is you may want to keep in mind that some states are now requiring proof of searching for a job to continue receiving unemployment benefits. That means there is the possibility that there may be some out there looking, clicking, and even applying with no real intent to begin driving.
And while this is a possibility, there is no direct evidence in the numbers so far to indicate that this is happening at the moment. It is, however, something you may want to keep in mind and monitor moving forward.
THIS WEEK IN FREIGHT
Load postings took a hit and dropped by 10% WoW as spot load volume returned to levels more in line with what we saw prior to Roadcheck week. None of the three major segments were immune to this drop in load postings as dry van fell by 15%, refrigerated dropped by 10%, and flatbed was down by 8% WoW.
As load volume decreased, overall truck postings increased by 5% WoW. Dry van availability dipped by 3%, while refrigerated and flatbed both saw gains in truck availability. Refrigerated was up by 4% while flatbed was up by 5% WoW.
With the decrease of load postings and increase in truck availability, the ratio of loads to trucks has now returned to the level recorded just prior to the Roadcheck event.
Spot rates rose by 3¢ per mile WoW to set a record high. Dry van rates fell ½¢, while refrigerated rose by 2¢, and flatbed sets yet another record with rates rising 3¢ per mile WoW.
NOW FOR OUR STORY OF THE WEEK
As the economy and American workforce continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns, trucking carriers are still struggling to find drivers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that trucking industry employment is still currently 3% below the level that was notched in January 2020, just prior to all the pandemic chaos.
So, the question that begs to be asked is why is trucking struggling to fill seats? With many states opening up and many trying to regain some sense of normalcy, where have all the drivers gone?
Let’s take a look at company drivers first. Employment is currently below pre-COVID levels, but there does not seem to be any evidence of elevated numbers of company drivers sitting out on the sidelines. In this case, it would seem that the major problem for fleets is new driver recruitment, as the flow of new company drivers coming into the industry is well below historic norms.
It’s a different story with owner-operators as statistical data indicate active employment within this driver segment is at or above pre-pandemic levels. And this comes even as there is evidence to show that elevated numbers of owner-ops are staying out of the labor market.
So, how is it that owner-operator levels haven’t seemed to suffer, but an above-average number of owner-ops are currently not seeking driving jobs? The answer can be found in the profitable freight market. With such a strong market, an abnormally high number of company drivers are now making the jump and becoming owner-operators, which as you can imagine also contributes to that lack of company driver availability, we talked about just a moment ago.
The final driver segment we’ll examine here is that of women drivers. Although comprising only a small portion of the overall trucking industry employment, women drivers are currently employed at a higher percentage than prior to the pandemic. How much higher? 2.3% higher.
That may not sound impressive but consider this: employment is currently down by 4% for male drivers compared to pre-pandemic numbers. And that gap widens significantly when looking at companies offering local and/or regional hauls. In that particular category employment of women is up by 18%, while the employment of men is down by 2%.
So … while women don’t make up a large portion of the driver population, this increase could indicate that women are more open to the profession, and perhaps specifically targeting women is something you should pursue. Consider your messaging and actively seek out new or veteran women drivers. And while we’re on the subject of women drivers why don’t you head on over and check out She Drives. She Drives focuses on addressing the unique issues women face on the road. Things like personal safety, health, and the best driving jobs for women are all covered. So, if you do decide to more actively target women drivers it could be a great resource to help you understand exactly what they go through on a day-to-day basis and what makes them tick.
And that does it for this week’s report, thanks so much for joining us. We hope that you found this content useful and informative. If you did, give us a like, follow us, share it! All that good stuff. And don’t forget down in the description on YouTube and in the body of our blog page for today’s report, you can find the PDF containing all of the information we covered in today’s report. I’ll also leave a link for She Drives down there for you as well, and over on the blog, we have the numbers at a glance visual tool, a link to an audio version of the report, and the transcript for today’s show. Alright? That’s it! We’ll see you back here again next Wednesday when we take another look back to help you move forward. Until then, have a great week everybody.