Layoffs are Part of a Troubling Trend in Trucking

The trucking industry has been going through major reformation in recent years with the push to go more tech-savvy. Autonomous trucking operations are starting to take over the highways and byways in America with companies like Uber Freight and TuSimple planning more available freight deliveries in the coming months.

This push to go autonomous has some trucking companies and trucking professionals worried that the need for drivers will start to go away. But the entire trucking industry has started to see a major slowdown as a whole, adding to the doubts around truck driver job security.

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trucking industry saw more than 10,000 truckers lose jobs between July and September. The layoffs are a result of a major slowdown in manufacturing related to the US-China trade dispute that’s currently ongoing, marking a major indication of an entire economic recession in the U.S.

Long Time Coming?

Analysts have been showing concern around the slowdown in the economy for some time, pointing out the role that trucking is playing. Job growth overall has slowed down in recent months across a number of sectors with payrolls averaging about 161,000 per month compared to 223,000 the same timeframe last year. This has caused a stir among trucking companies who need to find ways to do everything from completing their current orders and budget for layoffs. Things like truck insurance and ordering new vehicles may have to be put on hold even though they may be pertinent to an everyday operation.

Trucking has historically been known for hiring and firing thousands of people at once, bringing in loads of people or cutting whole swaths at a moment’s notice. For instance, in the summer of 2018, the industry saw a boost of 37,000 jobs after loads of new trucks were ordered to keep up with the surge in everything from e-commerce to international trade. But with standstills at the U.S.-Mexico border for trucking freight and another standstill with China over trade tariffs, the trucking industry has been caught in the middle.

Recent layoffs also mirror an overall shift in the services offered through trucking, such as same-day or next-day delivery in the e-commerce space. There are still areas where the trucking industry is hiring regularly, such as courier and messaging service companies, which are seeing solid bumps in opportunity due to more activity on sites like Amazon and eBay.

National networks like UPS and FedEx, can provide the dedicated capacity to large-sized customers to make sure there are no gaps in freight service, but for smaller and mid-sized companies that lack scale, this trend could be dire in the long run, maybe even leading to the demise of a number of companies.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

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