Truck driver jobs rebound to pre-Covid levels

by Today's Trucking

Truck driver employment has rebounded to pre-Covid levels – with Canada counting 11,100 more working drivers than the average reported over the last decade.

While driving jobs plunged in the first wave of the pandemic, a similar drop was not recorded during the second or third waves, Trucking HR Canada said Tuesday, reporting the seasonally adjusted numbers through its Labor Market Information program.

Polaris truck drivers
(File photo: Leo Barros)

More than 28,000 truck drivers lost their jobs in April 2020, and related unemployment rates soared to 14.3% the following month.

That didn’t last long.

“The occupation recovered quickly as the first wave subsided, adding back over 74,800 employed truck drivers between May and August [2020], with the unemployment rate dropping to an average of 4.3% over this period,” Trucking HR Canada notes.

That was already well below the national average unemployment rate.

“With the onset of the second wave, truck driver employment began to decline again in November 2020, with the loss of some 25,000 jobs. Interestingly, the second wave was not accompanied by the same spike in unemployment as the first – the unemployment rate averaged 5.5% during the months of November, December and January, only slightly higher than the 5.1% observed during the same period in 2019-20,” the organization reports.

Working with the Conference Board of Canada to account for seasonal adjustments, Trucking HR Canada even found that more than half the job losses seen in April and May 2020 were linked to normal seasonal fluctuations.

“There were some 15,995 vacant truck driver positions in the last quarter of 2020, with a vacancy rate of 5%. In comparison, the vacancy rate across all occupations in Canada was 2.7%,” it adds. “This indicates the occupation has already returned to similar shortages that were experienced before the pandemic.”

“Our industry remains vital to the economy – we know the longer it takes to better address driver shortages, the longer it will take for us to see a full economic recovery,” says Craig Faucette, director of policy and programs at Trucking HR Canada.

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  • I see many former truck drivers doing other jobs. I am also seeing many truck drivers who got sick or hurt living homeless shelters. Trucking companies are going to have to look at the way and what they pay truck drivers and owner ops . Receivers are going to have to in some cases improve treatment of truck drivers and when possible provide overnight parking with bathrooms. Otherwise we will be short of truck drivers.