March 14, 2019

Truck driver turnover rate shows mixed results

Churn fell at large truckload fleets but rose at smaller carriers during the fourth quarter, trade group reports.

By DC Velocity Staff

The truck driver turnover rate in the fourth quarter revealed a muddled picture, according to data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) released this week.

The quarterly turnover rate decreased for large truckload fleets, but increased for smaller carriers, according to ATA leaders, who also pointed to an overall slowing trend toward the end of the year.

"The driver market continues to be tight, but not quite as much as the middle of 2018. The overall trend late last year was that turnover is slowing," ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in a statement announcing the findings. "There can be various reasons for this-either freight volumes are decelerating and, as such, fleets pulled back on recruiting efforts or fleets' efforts to increase pay are paying dividends in the form or reduced turnover. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but it is a trend that bears watching."

The turnover rate at fleets with more than $30 million in revenue fell nine points to 78 percent in the fourth quarter, the Arlington, Va.-based trade group said. For the year, the turnover rate at large fleets averaged 89 percent—two points higher than the previous year.

At smaller carriers, the turnover rate rose five points to 77 percent, according to ATA. The rate averaged 73 percent for the year, the lowest churn rate since 2011.

ATA said turnover at less-than-truckload fleets was unchanged at 10 percent and averaged 11 percent for the year.

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