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Top Hiring Trends for Truck Drivers

by Josh Bays, on Jun 18, 2018 2:40:18 PM

An increase in e-commerce activity and consumer buying patterns has had a profound impact on national supply chains. It is critical for the industrial sector to keep up with the demand for on-time and accurate delivery. Given the nationwide tight labor market, it is more important than ever for companies to thoroughly evaluate the regional workforce.

In a quickly changing industrial landscape, it is also important to have up-to-date information. Site Selection Group, a full-service location advisory, economic incentives and real estate services firm, helps distribution centers find the optimal locations for their projects by evaluating workforce, logistics efficiencies, business environment, infrastructure, facilities and economic incentives. Since our newsletter last year (link), the demand for tractor-trailer drivers has continued to grow. See the charts below to get the most up-to-date data available.

Tractor-trailer truck driver numbers on the rise

Following a decrease in activity since the Great Recession, the tractor-trailer driver occupation has seen continual and steady growth, adding over 31,000 jobs in the past year. Since the lowest point in employment numbers following the recession in 2010, there has been roughly 18% growth in this sector. Based on recent project experience, as well as economic forecasts, this growth is likely to continue well into the future.

Distribution Graph

Source: EMSI

Labor supply by the numbers

Total supply of key occupation types is often the starting point for accessing labor availability. The table below shows the top metro areas in 2018 by presence of tractor-trailer drivers. Same as last year, New York City tops the list. However, Dallas has risen not only in the overall number of drivers, but also in concentration relative to the overall labor force. New to the list this year are Kansas City and Memphis.

Top Metro Areas by Total Number of Tractor Trailer Drivers

Metro Area Total Tractor Trailer Drivers Labor Force Drivers as % of LF
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 62,176 9,630,965 0.65%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 52,073 3,649,905 1.43%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 49,874 4,660,913 1.07%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 40,074 6,252,041 0.64%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 39,491 3,056,912 1.29%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 33,719 2,699,449 1.25%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 27,926 1,531,148 1.82%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 23,726 2,902,820 0.82%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 21,479 1,954,235 1.10%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 19,899 2,618,783 0.76%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 18,664 1,054,426 1.77%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 18,417 2,074,886 0.89%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 18,117 1,989,364 0.91%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 17,150 2,786,745 0.62%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 16,922 1,223,965 1.38%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 16,421 2,095,886 0.78%
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN 15,883 985,157 1.61%
Kansas City, MO-KS 15,182 1,093,027 1.39%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 14,248 3,314,929 0.43%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 14,004 643,195 2.18%

Source: EMSI; MSAs with at least 500 tractor-trailer drivers

Assessing labor demand

Using jobs postings, Site Selection Group gathers a more complete view of labor availability. An area with high demand has a relatively larger number of postings relative to jobs. An ideal community will offer both a larger-than-average labor supply, and a lower-than-average labor demand. The table below shows the areas with the highest demand for tractor-trailers drivers this year.

Metro Areas by High Demand for Tractor Trailer Drivers

MSA Name Demand: Postings as % of Jobs Average Monthly Job Postings # of Occupation Growth
Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH 546.97% 3138.417 573.7785
Wheeling, WV-OH 394.70% 3378.667 856.015
State College, PA 385.22% 2215.75 575.1902
Champaign-Urbana, IL 267.12% 2133.167 798.5741
Dover, DE 256.62% 1754.583 683.7299
Springfield, IL 255.78% 1687.583 659.7857
Claremont-Lebanon, NH-VT 253.75% 2169.083 854.8025
Bloomington, IN 242.52% 1269.667 523.5257
Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY 241.25% 1504.917 623.7992
Norwich-New London, CT 231.44% 1845.667 797.4733

Source: EMSI; MSAs with at least 500 tractor-trailer drivers

Likewise, Site Selection Group also identified those metro areas with the lowest demand for tractor-trailer drivers (see below). As a reminder, this demand metric along doesn’t give a broad view of labor availability. It is merely an indicator of the overall workforce, but shouldn’t be used by itself.

Top Metro Areas by Low Demand for Tractor Trailer Drivers

Metro Area Demand: Postings as % of Jobs Average Monthly Postings # of Jobs 5-Year Occupation Growth
Urban Honolulu, HI 3.97% 105.5833 2659.479 3.89%
Gillette, WY 5.08% 37 727.6633 -9.27%
Hilo, HI 6.06% 33.75 557.0937 3.78%
Anchorage, AK 9.11% 133.0833 1460.587 -0.24%
Midland, TX 10.31% 414.25 4016.844 14.82%
Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield, WI 13.21% 313.1667 2371.045 0.34%
Eagle Pass, TX 14.06% 70.91667 504.4273 4.91%
Odessa, TX 14.89% 374.8333 2517.157 13.23%
Burley, ID 15.25% 145.8333 956.2641 11.48%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 16.25% 3233.417 19899.67 4.24%

Source: EMSI; MSAs with at least 500 tractor-trailer drivers

Topics:Distribution CentersManufacturingSite Selection GroupSite SelectionLocation Advisory

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