The economy around the semi-trucking industry has been turbulent, and the news surrounding it even more so. But as the booming rush of the Christmas seasons draws to a close and 2018 approaches, it's important to look at the overall trends facing semi-trucking to paint a clearer picture of what to expect in the coming months.
The first ten months of the year saw freight volume go up 3.1 percent from 2016, which is significant increase even if it's largely anticipated due to overall market growth. The fourth quarter of the year has performed even better, which a 9.9% increase in October from the same month last year. While this means that a driver-strapped company is pushing for more from their drivers, it also means that demand will continue to grow for semi-trucking. According to the American Trucking Associations, or ATA, the increase is due to strong faith in consumer funding, which typically indicates strong future growth.
2017 started the year with roughly a 100,000 driver shortage, and that has only increased. Even with all of the news about driverless vehicles, expansion of the freight market into alternative modes of transportation and the increase in oversized truck allowances, there's still an open market for most positions. Once you gain experience and start getting certifications for specialty loads (which many companies will help fund), you can quickly go up from a base starting salary. The same shortages and opportunities are all throughout the repair and semi-truck technician markets. As more and more companies start adding passive electric axles, smarter sensors, and ELDs, it's easier than ever to gain experience in a profitable niche.
While it's hard to predict precisely what 2018 will bring, the good news from 2017 is likely to carry through.