‘Trucking boom’ in driver pay, says the WSJ

Click through the image above for the Wall Street Journal’s latest foray into trucking economics — “Drivers ride high on trucking boom.”

Click through the graph here to give a read to the Wall Street Journal story, which hit on Tuesday this week, on driver pay dynamics. As with owner-operator income last year, driver pay writ large was up substantially last year, according to the National Transportation Institute, publisher of the National Survey of Driver Wages (their info reflected in the chart).

My question is whether the gains will truly hold this year, and whether such gains are also reflected among employee drivers for smaller fleets. NTI’s Gordon Klemp commonly tracks pay packages offered by a large number of fleets, but from past conversations with Klemp I know that most of the data he’s tracking is coming from sizable companies, many of whom, as the article reiterates, are boosting their pay packages to compete for new hires.

And a lot of last year’s owner-operator income success had to do with something of a booming spot market for freight pushing rates up all around. Not the case this year, as many of you have noted more and more as the year has progressed.

The WSJ piece was interesting to see in that it wasn’t long ago (a few weeks, to be exact) that the WSJ led with a burst of pessimism on opportunity and business health for small fleets, after all. I don’t share such pessimism all around, as I wrote previously, but it bears noting.

And between the employee driver riding that “trucking boom,” such as it is, and the “struggling small fleet” sits … Well, you get my drift.

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What’s been your experience so far this year? If you’re an owner-operator, how’s income looking compared to 2014 — better or worse?

If a company driver, have raises come across from small fleet employers, whether in the form of pay-rate increases or better or more regular miles/runs? Drop a comment below or weigh in with a voice message on our podcast line at 530-408-6423. If you’re reading on a mobile phone, you can use this call button to dial in to that line direct.

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