Expert Says Driver Pay Has Fallen

This is a picture of 18 wheeler semi truck loading at a warehouse building.

Amidst the well-known driver shortage, the average wage for truckers in the United States has been climbing. It follows the basic principles of economics—as the supply of truckers has diminished, the demand for them has risen, thus leading to higher pay for their services.

At the moment, the starting wage for a “rookie” trucker is somewhere around $40,000 per year, according to All Trucking. In many large, private fleets (such as Walmart’s), it is not uncommon for the median annual wage for truckers to total $68,000.

Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? On the surface, it would seem as if the wage for truckers is high, with nowhere to go but up.

However, this is not actually the case. Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transport Institute, revealed that the wage of truckers has not kept up with the rate of inflation of the U.S. Dollar since 1980.

Back in 1980, the average trucker made $38,618 per year, Klemp says. If that total were to be adjusted to the current dollar, truck drivers would exceed $111,000 in yearly pay. That is obviously quite a drop off. In the past 30 years, the wage for an American truck driver has plummeted by nearly 33%, according to Overdrive.

Nonetheless, Klemp also made it clear that, despite the large fall that trucking pay has seen, it is (albeit slowly) returning to a high level. Methods such as hourly pay and incentive-based pay have become commonly adopted by many trucking fleets hoping to offer the best drivers the best pay in the industry.

Only time can tell if the average wage of the American trucker will be able to overcome the massive fall that it has seen in the past three decades. But, if you are the owner of a small trucking fleet or an owner-operator, you don’t have time to wait for the economy to figure out how to raise your wages. You need access to working capital immediately. Luckily, we can help with that. We are experts when it comes to helping small and mid-sized trucking companies get access to cash when they need it. Give us a call at 855-393-2286 and start growing your small trucking business.

How can truckers track national average pay?

Truckers can track the national average pay for their profession using various resources and tools available online. Here are some steps to help truckers stay informed about the national average pay:

  1. Industry Websites: Several trucking industry websites and associations regularly publish salary surveys and reports. These organizations often provide national and regional salary averages, as well as breakdowns by experience level and type of trucking (long-haul, regional, local, etc.). Websites like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) or the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) can be valuable sources of information.
  2. Government Agencies: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects and publishes data on occupational wages, including truck driver salaries. The BLS offers comprehensive information on pay averages, employment trends, and industry-specific data.
  3. Salary Aggregator Websites: There are online platforms and websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and PayScale that compile salary data from employees and truck drivers nationwide. Users can search for specific job titles, locations, and industries to find salary information.
  4. Trucking Forums and Communities: Online trucking forums and communities, such as TruckersReport or TruckingTruth, often have sections where truckers share information about their earnings. Reading discussions and participating in these communities can provide insights into what truckers are earning in various regions and roles.

Why is it important to track the average salary of your position in the trucking industry?

Tracking the average salary of your position in the trucking industry is important for several reasons:

  1. Salary Negotiation: When seeking employment or contract opportunities, having up-to-date salary information can empower truckers to negotiate fair compensation packages. Armed with knowledge of industry averages, they can advocate for competitive pay that reflects their skills and experience.
  2. Market Awareness: Knowing the average salary for your position allows you to understand how your earnings compare to industry standards. This awareness helps you assess whether you are being fairly compensated and can identify opportunities for improvement or negotiation.
  3. Career Planning: Tracking salary trends can aid in long-term career planning. It enables truckers to set realistic financial goals, make informed decisions about job changes or relocations, and plan for retirement or other financial milestones.
  4. Budgeting and Financial Stability: Accurate salary data allows truckers to create realistic budgets and financial plans. This helps ensure financial stability, manage expenses, and save for future needs.


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