US trucking still facing capacity shortage

Despite a moderately growing US economy, research company FTR said it was expecting headwinds for North America’s trucking industry in the second half of 2014 – even though a capacity crisis has been avoided for now.

“Capacity is tight but has moderated from the critical level that we operated in during and just after the winter months,” Jonathan Starks, FTR’s Director of Transportation Analysis, commented.

“If economic growth continues to remain modest then we would expect the status quo to persist for some time; however, if the economy finally shows a strong growth spurt in 2014 there isn’t sufficient surge capacity in the truck market to be able to easily accommodate that growth.”

The Wall Street Journal commented the trucker shortage reflected a “conundrum of the recovery” even as the Labor Department last week reported the US was adding, on average, more than 200,000 jobs a month. “The skills and goals of the nation's roughly 9.5 million unemployed aren't meshing with employers' needs.”

Already, operators across the country are short 30,000 long-distance drivers, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA). The group projects the shortage could top 200,000 in the next decade.

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