Emerging from Disruption, the Trucking Labor Market and Resale Channel Settle Into a Steady Upward Trajectory

 In Price Digests Blog

We spend a lot of time focusing on the truck market, looking at availability, values, and trends, and sharing the news that will help you make informed buying and planning decisions. In honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (September 11-17, 2022), we’re expanding our focus to include the labor market, how it’s trending alongside truck availability, and what that means for those who sell and buy trucks.   

Labor challenges have been a persistent issue in the trucking industry for years. Between retirements, industry growth, drivers choosing other industries, and the overall disruption of the pandemic, the driver shortage reached historic highs in 2021. Our analysis shows that the labor market may be rebounding, as the number of job seekers is on the rise. At the same time, activity on the resale channel is increasing steadily. It’s possible that we’re settling into something like normal.  

Trucking Salaries Have Risen Steadily, But May Have Peaked 

Using  data from Indeed and the Bureau of Labor Services, we analyzed activity in the trucking job market in 2021 and 2022. In April 2021, the number of job seekers looking for roles in trucking hit a low of 1.1 million. In response to the shallow labor pool, many employers raised salaries. During the period between August 2021 and June 2022, average salary increased from 68,000 to 81,000. 

However, salaries may have peaked, as the average salary dipped to 77,000 in July 2022. Decreasing salaries may be due to the fact that the number of job seekers is increasing more quickly than the number of job openings. As of July 2022, there were 2.26 million job seekers in the trucking industry. If the number continues to grow at this rate, there will be approximately 2.57 million candidates looking for truck driving jobs at year’s end.  

Retention Efforts Impact Truck Resale Activity 

Increasing salaries isn’t the only strategy employers used to address labor challenges. In a survey last year, fleet owners said that improving driver retention was a key motivator for expanding their fleets. And that is likely a key driving force behind the steadily increasing activity we’ve seen on the resale channel this year.   

Like the labor market, the truck resale channel is rebounding after a volatile year in 2021. We’re now seeing the highest number of truck listings in over a year. Due to that upward trajectory, we expect to see the number of resale listings reach nearly 80,000 in December. 

Expect Continued Increased Activity on the Resale Channel 

The combined impact of an increase in job seekers and rising resale listings may mean that dealers should expect even higher levels of inventory in the months ahead. My colleague, Sam Pierce, notes that for-hire drivers and fleet owners, “May soon be ready to upgrade or trade in some of their current trucks. Now that we’ve seen more drivers per fleet, they clearly have the business to transport more. We’ve noticed higher mileage on trucks which supports this claim.” 

For owner-operators, the increased competition may be a reason to upgrade their truck(s) to gain an edge. However, as Sam points out, those who choose to work with large fleets may not need to: “Considering large fleets may already own enough trucks to support their drivers, many new hires won’t need to purchase a new truck.”  

As the labor market continues to evolve, we’ll keep you updated on the latest news to help you make informed buying and selling decisions. 

About Price Digests

Since 1911 Price Digests has served the vehicle data needs of the insurancefinancegovernment, and dealer markets through its portfolio of VIN decoding, specifications, and market value data solutions for the commercial truckpassenger vehiclemarinepowersport, and recreational vehicle asset classes. Our data + intelligence solutions pave roads to faster and better decisions with perfect-fit data delivery, whether it’s seamlessly integrated APIs, online subscriptions or custom data delivery.

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