The Biden administration is launching a comprehensive initiative in collaboration with the industry that aims to enhance recruiting efforts in trucking through multiple activities and raise the attraction of “well-paying, dependable professions,” as one senior administration official put it.
On Monday, President Biden will lay out a plan to address the truck driver shortage, including a goal to increase the number of women and veterans in the business.
The actions are part of a series of steps launched by the Biden administration over the last year to bolster the United States’ supply chain, which has been hampered in part by a shortage of truckers on the road.
Pete Buttigieg, transportation Secretary is slated to join Mr. Biden at the White House for the trucking announcement.
Although the Biden administration has taken many steps to solve the trucking shortfall, supply chain snarls still exist. According to the White House, truckers transport 72 percent of all goods in the United States.
The Departments of Transportation and Labor announced plans in December to increase access to trucking occupations for women and veterans by expanding apprenticeship programs, minimizing delays in awarding commercial driver’s licenses, and improving access to trucking opportunities for women and veterans.
Over the past year, I’ve heard from people across the trucking industry expressing concern about labor capacity and its effect on our supply chain.
Today at @whitehouse we announced a plan to recruit more drivers and help them to thrive in this career 🧵
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) December 16, 2021
Those actions, according to the White House, are beneficial. According to a White House information sheet, states have awarded 876,000 commercial licenses since January 2021, and trucking employment has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 35,000 jobs.
Despite this, there is an 80,000-driver shortfall in the trucking business, and retention is still a major concern.
According to the American Trucking Associations, the average turnover rate of long-haul drivers was 96 percent in the third quarter of last year. Smaller carriers had a 73 percent turnover rate.
Long-haul truck drivers are often paid by mile rather than by the number of hours they work, and thus are not entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.