“Drivers Wanted!” We have all seen the signs on the backs of semi-trucks on the highway. It seems that every trucking company is hiring. Can that actually be the case? Well, it’s kind of true. The demand for truck driving jobs has exploded in the last several years, and now is the perfect time to cash in on the explosion. Trucking jobs in Asheville is no exception….many are needed.
Why are There so Many Jobs in Trucking Now?
There’s a time-tested economic idea centered around the idea that the price of a good or service is dictated by that good’s supply and that good’s demand. If supply goes up and demand remains constant the price drops. If the demand goes up and supply remains constant, the price goes up. If demand goes up while supply goes down, the price goes up significantly. Keep that last sentence in mind, we’ll come back to it in a minute.
The implications are stark for everybody. When trucking companies demand higher rates to haul goods, these increased costs are passed on to consumers. Everything in your local store is delivered by semi-truck at some point, so if you see prices for items ranging from batteries to cleaning supplies increasing, rest assured that increased transportation costs are partially to blame.
Reasons that Demand is Increasing:
1.) Globalization. In the last 20 years, the world has become increasingly more global. What this means is, it is very easy for somebody in America to place an order from an international company located in Asia, South America, or Europe, and have merchandise shipped over to America. When that merchandise is received in American ports, it needs to be delivered to locations all across America. Often times, merchandise is loaded into rail cars, which are then sent to various locations across the US. At some point, though, that merchandise needs to be off-loaded from a rail car onto a semi truck and delivered to a warehouse or store. In other cases, the merchandise never sees a rail car in the first place (trucks are much faster), and merchandise heads straight from the port or the airport to a warehouse.
2.) “Just in Time” Delivery. Many companies demand “just in time” delivery from their suppliers. Let’s take WalMart, for example. WalMart does not want to store more than several days of merchandise on hand at one time. They prefer the merchandise to be sent in every few days, in order to reduce storage costs. This means that WalMart’s suppliers need to send commercial trucks very often to WalMart in order to supply WalMart with material to sell. Trains are too slow to respond to changing inventory levels, and cannot offload in town where WalMart is located.
Reasons that Supply is Decreasing
1.) Many drivers are retiring. The average truck driver in the US is 55 years old (https://www.npr.org/2018/01/09/576752327/trucking-industry-struggles-with-growing-driver-shortage). For truckers that have driven all their lives, many are considering retiring, or moving into a different line of work as they get older. This reduces the number of truck drivers and thus truck deliveries that can be made.
2.) Changing federal regulations. New regulations require electronic trip monitoring and various changes to vehicles to prevent harmful pollutants from entering the atmosphere. Small trucking companies do not have the resources to outfit their older trucks with this equipment or do not have the resources to purchase new trucks with the required equipment, and in turn, many small trucking companies are expected to go out of business in the next few years, firing their drivers along with them. Drivers who work for large trucking companies do not need to worry about this since many large companies operate with the newest fleet and most advanced trucks on the market.
3.) Ideas about the industry that may not be true. Many think of a trucker as a nomadic person, on the road their whole life, bouncing from city to city. If this sounds like the ideal life for you, there is a trucking job out there for you. However, most trucking jobs are not like this. Many jobs allow drivers to come home every night, and some companies will stipulate in your contract how many nights “on the road” (away from home) you are likely to be every week, which will often be less than half of the week for “over the road” truck drivers. They make sure also they have a contact number of an Emergency Truck Road Service if in case they will be needing a commercial truck repair service during their night trip.
Being a truck driver is a unique job. First, not many people can say they get to travel the country and experience new scenery and interact with different people from multiple regions throughout their careers. As a truck driver, you can do all that. Your job could take you through the Big Apple in New York City, down to the sun-kissed beaches of Florida, across the rolling plains of the Midwest, up the redwood-soaked 101 through California, Oregon, and Washington, through the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, and over to the glimmering lights of Las Vegas, all while getting paid.