I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about something that has suddenly gotten put on the radar: the fact that in many industrialized countries, seniors will soon outnumber the younger, working-age population. In Canada, for example, (according to a Statistics Canada report released late last year), by the year 2015, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. That would be a first in the history of Canada’s population statistics, said the stats agency. Indeed, a worrying trend has emerged in the country: Canada’s fertility rates (the amount of births per woman) are declining dramatically. We essentially are no longer replacing deaths with enough births. The trucking industry has been well aware of such dire predictions for ages. Truckers already constitute, again according to Statistics Canada, an older work force whose average age in 2004 was 42 (45 for the self-employed truckers). Even more worrisome, only 5 % of truck drivers were under 25 in 2004, compared with 15 % in the labour force as a whole, says ‘the Man’s’ Stats division. And trucking will have to compete with many other industries for scarce employee resources. You can’t exactly offshore the profession either! Now demographics don’t happen overnight, but I think the sudden panic was probably encouraged by the fact that in 2006, the oldest Baby Boomers (encompassing those born from 1946 to 1964), turn 60. This wouldn’t normally be problematic because their generation is, as we all know, immortal, but now all sorts of queries and questions are coming out about what shall we all do? There’s no one left to work!
Class 8 truck sales hit a record 35,984 units in 2005, easily surpassing the previous record of 30,984 set back in 1999. Can 2006 possibly be better? I've been asked that question a lot lately. To be honest I'm struggling with the answer. The January numbers certainly point in that direction with the year off to its fastest start on record. There were 2,441 Class 8 trucks sold in Canada this January, according to records from the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association. In comparison, last year's record year started with 2,173 trucks sold. And the five-year average for the month is just 1,548. But is there enough momentum in the economy and the need for new iron among Canadian fleets and owner/operators to last the entire year?