(Springfield, Mo.) All those items you order online or see at the stores likely get to you on a truck, but new numbers show not enough drivers behind the wheel including here in the Ozarks.
The trucking industry is the lifeline of the american economy, but over the last decade, the industry has had to deal with a shortage of drivers.
"It’s becoming very challenging throughout nationwide and locally to find a qualified drivers that are safe and reliable," explains Jim Guthrie, Director of Recruiting, Prime Inc.
He says the trucking industry is struggling for several reasons.
"The nature of the work. It’s hard work being away from home, being away from family, loved ones, missing graduations."
The American Truckers Assocation released new numbers showing more than 50,000 truck driver are needed nationwide.
"Drivers sacrifice a lot to keep the goods moving from coast to coast across the country. So they make a tremendous sacrifice and it’s hard to attract new people into the industry because of the image."
It’s not just a problem for trucking companies. Fewer drivers could drive up the price for consumers to.
"Trucking and transportation is a huge piece of the economy. As that continues to spread we’re going to see prices increase in order to cover those increase transportation costs and to help driver earnings."
That’s why Guthrie says his company is looking for more ways to entice people to work as drivers, by advertising the advantages of being a truck driver.
"We also offer a wide range of benefits to people that come in into the industry. We have an extraordinary health and wellness program.
To put the brakes on the shortage, Guthrie, says the industry needs to shift gears.
"As an industry we haven’t done a good job of promoting a positive image for truck driving so we need to really get better at promoting the opportunities especially for younger generations, millennials’.'
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median annual salary for truck drivers was more than $50,000.