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Driver Recruiting Weekly Report – September 29, 2021

The Weekly Report brings you updates on the most important driver recruiting metrics each and every week. In addition to updated click, search and rates, we cover a new story of the week. This week’s story – fleets struggle to grow as more drivers opt to become owner-operators.

New episodes of the Weekly Report premiere every Wednesday at 10 AM CT on our YouTube channel and blog page.

We provide the Weekly Report in numerous formats every week. Which one is right for you? Watch the latest reports on our Recruiting Resources or YouTube pages, use our Numbers at a Glance section for quick visual references, download the Weekly Report PDF (available below), read the transcript, or listen to the audio version of the September 29, 2021, Weekly Report below.

Numbers At A Glance – September 29, 2021

Truck Driver Searches

WoW: Δ Up 6%
MoM: Δ Up 13%
YoY: Δ Up 38%

Load Volume

WoW: Δ Up 5%

 Volume by Segment

WoW: Dry Van Δ Up 6%
WoW: Refrigerated ≡ Flat
WoW: Flatbed Δ Up 7%

Spot Rates

WoW: ∇ Down 1¢ per mile

Clicks On Driver Postings

WoW: ∇ Down 11%
MoM: Δ Up 1%
YoY: Δ Up 26%

Truck Postings

WoW: ∇ Down 1%

 Truck Posting by Segment

WoW: Dry Van Data Unavailable
WoW: Refrigerated Data Unavailable
WoW: Flatbed Data Unavailable

 Rates by Segment

WoW: Dry Van ∇ Down 3¢ per mile
WoW: Refrigerated ∇ Down 5¢ per mile
WoW: Flatbed ≡ Flat

September 29, 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 September 29, 2021, is available for your convenience in PDF form below.

Click the image to download September 29, 2021, Driver Recruiting Insights PDF.

Sept 29 Driver Recruiting Insights

Weekly Report – September 29, 2021 Transcript

Hello everyone and welcome to the Weekly Report. For Randall-Reilly, I’m Joshua Miller. We have a lot of information to cover, so let’s get right to it.

THIS WEEK IN JOB BOARD SEARCHES AND CLICKS

Truck driver searches were up across the board. They were up 6% WoW, 13% MoM, and 38% YoY. Clicks on driver postings were down 11% WoW, but up 1% MoM and 26% YoY.
Click counts have continued to trend downward after a spike that coincided with enhanced federal employment benefits coming to an end. This mirrors previous studies that showed a brief activity spike followed by a leveling off in states that announced they were ending those enhanced benefits early.
On the other, after closely following 2020’s click trends through August, clicks have been up around 25% each week since the unemployment benefits came to an end.

THIS WEEK IN FREIGHT

Load postings were up 5%, WoW marking the highest volume levels since the end of June. With that dry van postings increased by 6% WoW, while flatbed rose by 7%, and refrigerated remained unchanged. Overall, we’re seeing the spot volume continue to outpace the seasonal expectations as the supply chain continues to deal with several major disruptions.
Truck availability declined slightly by 1% WoW as the load-to-truck ratio hit its highest levels since the end of June. I can also tell you the load-to-truck ratios were higher WoW in all major segments, but … the availability by segment is again unavailable at this time.
Spot rates dipped by 1¢ per mile WoW with flatbed rates remaining unchanged, while both dry van and refrigerated rates dropped. Dry van was down 3¢ and refrigerated rates dropped by 5¢ per mile WoW.

NOW FOR THE STORY OF THE WEEK

Fleets continue to struggle as their growth stagnates and owner-operators surge. For the first time since the ATBS has been tracking fleet and average independent owner-operator salaries, the pay levels have now surpassed $70,000.
The increase in net income of more than $70,000 is an average figure across all categories of drivers and equates to an increase of more than $6,500 in one year (up 10%). Drivers’ increase in revenue per mile is up 4.5% from last year, with the overall rate up 7¢ per mile coming in at $1.55 per mile.
The ATBS’s numbers are a result of the massive base of financial information compiled through their activities offering tax and various other financial services to owner-operators and fleets. The President and CEO, Todd Amen, says this is now the best trucking environment he’s seen in over 30 years in the industry.
And if you happen to be an owner-operator you’d probably be inclined to agree with him. Comparing owner-operators and fleet drivers – the owner-ops currently have an advantage of more than $1 per mile compared to their counterparts. Not surprisingly, as more and more company drivers see this disparity, many are making the jump and becoming owner-operators themselves.
This means fleets are not only left with a smaller pool of company drivers, but those that they are left with want to drive less than what they have in the past. Compared to the first six months of 2020 (keep in mind this does include April and May, which were feeling the effects of the pandemic) – ATBS drivers are now running 1.5% fewer miles.
From what data and anecdotal reports tell us, drivers are making so much money on a per-mile basis that they’re simply willing or able to drive less. Since they have more coming in, they’re willing to forgo extra wages for more leisure time.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Amen cautions, that the good times won’t last forever and asked the question, “When will the owner-operators move back to the fleets?”
As long as independent drivers can make $50,000 more running loads on an elevated spot market they will, but … when that market begins to cool and the rates come back down to earth, many drivers may find themselves looking to rejoin a fleet. At that point, however, those fleets will be faced with the same downturn and won’t need the drivers.
Amen notes, “drivers need to understand that to make good money over the long term, maybe the fleet is the place to be.”
That does it for the Weekly Report. Come back and see us next Wednesday morning as we take another look back to help you move forward. Until then, have a great week everybody.