Demand For Truck Drivers Expected To Increase

By Staff

June 23, 2009

Experts are saying that professional truck drivers are currently in demand and that the need will very likely grow.

Channel 9 News in Chattanooga, Tennessee, reports that according to Glen Andrelski, co-owner of the Volunteer Training Center, there is currently a shortage of 20,000 truck drivers in the United States. VTC offers a three-week training course for people interested in pursuing careers as professional truck drivers.

"By the year 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates there will be over 111,000 drivers needed," Andrelski said. "This industry is growing."

Similarly, Ohio's Springfield News-Sun reports that Clark State Community College offers training to drivers of long-haul trucks, school bus and other commercial vehicles, and has seen steady enrollment since the program was first offered in 1987.

The course lasts for four and a half weeks and typically attracts more than 200 students annually. Some of the skills taught include backing up large rigs in a straight line, maneuvering them in narrow spaces and parallel-parking.

"There is a profession out there for people who don't want to be in a cubicle," explained Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express, a trucking company based in Dayton, who is also a spokesman for the trucking industry as chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association. "You are the commander of the truck."

Burch noted that as the economy recovers, demand for truck drivers will grow. That prediction is echoed by U.S. News & World Report, which recently listed the profession as one of the best blue-collar jobs for people switching careers.

"The job outlook for long-haul drivers is strong, since they can fill needs that can't be served by other forms of freight transportation," the article said.

Nevertheless, the recession has clearly taken its toll on the industry. Today's Financial News reports that according to the American Trucking Association, trucking demand has dropped by about 13% from this time last year. Additionally, fuel costs have risen, and earlier reports about the truck driving industry indicated that competition for jobs was fierce.

But most agree that truck drivers are expected to be in demand in the long run. "The industry will regain some of its old momentum," predicted Today's Financial News, "one gear at a time."

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