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Driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers drops in US for first time in more than a year

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The line-haul driver turnover rate among large for-hire truckload carriers (fleets with at least ...


ARLINGTON, Va. — The line-haul driver turnover rate among large for-hire truckload carriers (fleets with at least $30 million in annual revenue) experienced its first quarterly decrease in a year during the 2007 second quarter, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported. Driver turnover is for employee, over-the-road, line-haul drivers only and does not include local drivers like those with port operations.

ATA, which began collecting driver turnover statistics in 1995, reported that turnover for large truckload (TL) carriers was at a 116% annual rate during the quarter, down from a rate of 127% in the first quarter of the year.

“Soft freight volumes and looser capacity during the quarter likely helped lower the rate of turnover,” said ATA chief economist, Bob Costello. “However, the rate still remains high and hasn’t been below 100% since the fourth quarter of 2002.”

Small truckload carriers (TL) saw their average turnover rate decrease to 90%, marking the lowest annualized rate in two years. This is the first time that the small fleet turnover rate has been below 100% since the third quarter of 2005.

The less-than-truckload (LTL) line-haul driver annualized turnover rate was just 13% during the 2007 second quarter, compared with 14% in the previous three-month period.

Both large TL and LTL fleets experienced reductions in total employment during the second quarter of this year, a trend that started during the fourth quarter of 2006 for the TL sector and in the first quarter of 2007 for the LTL industry. As freight has softened, both large TLs and LTL carriers have tried to “right size” their operations, ATA said. The small TL carriers had essentially no change in total employment during the quarter, but they did increase their line-haul driver pool by 1.4%.


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