4th quarter driver turnover rate shows muddled picture

The fourth quarter turnover rate at fleets with more than $30 million revenue fell nine points to 78 percent. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations Wednesday released its figures on truck driver turnover in the fourth quarter, showing a continued downward trend in the churn rate.

“The driver market continues to be tight, but not quite as much as the middle of 2018. The overall trend late last year was that turnover is slowing,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “There can be various reasons for this – either freight volumes are decelerating and as such fleets pulled back on recruiting efforts or fleets’ efforts to increase pay are paying dividends in the form or reduced turnover. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but it is a trend that bears watching.”

In the fourth quarter, the turnover rate at fleets with more than $30 million revenue fell nine points to 78 percent. It is now 10 points lower than it was during the same quarter in 2017. For the year, the turnover rate at large fleets averaged 89 percent – two points higher than the previous year.

At smaller carriers, the turnover rate rose five points to 77 percent. That mark was three points lower than the rate in the final quarter of 2017. The rate averaged 73 percent for the year – the lowest churn rate since 2011.

Turnover at less-than-truckload fleets was unchanged at 10 percent and averaged 11 percent on the year.

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