It is no secret that there is a supply chain problem that is delaying the delivery of goods to customers all over the country, particularly for the upcoming Christmas season. While things have been improving in recent days, more has to be done to resolve this long term problem and one area that should be addressed is truck driver shortages.
According to the American Trucking Association, “To keep up with demand over the next decade, trucking will need to recruit nearly one million new drivers to close the gap caused by demand for freight, projected retirements and other issues.” Bob Costello, the Association’s chief economist recently said, “Increased demand for freight, pandemic-related challenges from early retirements, closed driving schools and DMVs, and other pressures are really pushing up demand for drivers and subsequently the shortage.”
While much of the need over the next decade will be made up by recruiting new drivers in the country, clearly America will not be able to provide all the truckers that will be needed over the next decade. Indeed, Costello projects the current shortfall of 80,000 drivers will grow to 160,000 truckers by 2030. “The industry is raising pay at five times the historic average, but this isn’t just a pay issue. We have an aging workforce, a workforce that is overwhelmingly male and finding ways to address those issues is key to narrowing the shortage,” says Costello. He adds that this is one of the few careers in America with a path to a middle class lifestyle that doesn’t require a college degree, yet it faces the shortfalls identified.
In a recent article published on this subject, typical of the ongoing discussion on the issue, the question of how to best address the shortfall identified did not consider what could be done from an immigration point of view. Yet immigration could very well be part of the solution.