In This Economy, The Cream Is Rising To The Top

by Tanya Bons

Are there jobs in the trucking industry? Yes, yes and another yes. There is this horrible misconception that there are no jobs and it all started in the employment and unemployment offices across the country. We rely on these offices to fund many future truck drivers, these offices provide the grants for training, but right now they are sending truck driver potentials away. Why?

Why Unemployement Offices Are Not Encouraging You To Become A Truck Driver

When the economy took a downturn in the fall of last year, the trucking industry slowed down. As the new year began large amounts of people were being laid off, familiar businesses were closing and every industry was tackled with the presence of the "new economy". The trucking industry, like all industries, was thrown head first into the new environment. Consumers cut their consuming in half and the immediate impact was a massive decrease in shipments. Trucking companies responded with hiring freezes thinking this was their best reaction, it had always helped in the past.

Meanwhile, truck drivers that had planned on retiring were hit heavy in the stock market and opted to stay working.

This was unusual for an industry that had previously seen a truck driver turnover rate as high as 130% a year, for the first time in decades, there was a surplus of drivers.

The trucking companies, in deep in confusion, tried to figure out how to get loads to keep their drivers working. Bigger companies started taking loads they would never have bothered with previously and smaller companies were being pushed out of the industry.

When the smaller companies started losing shipments their drivers started jumping and moving to larger, more financially stable companies. Some of the larger, wiser companies realized the benefit and began to work with the new economy. These companies knew that they would continue to have an influx of experienced small company drivers and recent truck school graduates so they took another look at their fleet and they started to make the changes that would insure their standings, they "creamed their crop". The companies laid off drivers that weren't delivering loads on time, that had become complacent, that called in often, that turned down loads, that had a history of accidents; drivers that couldn't or wouldn't do the job the companies wanted.

A Huge Increase In Job Listings For Truck Drivers, a large job search engine that has more than 5 million job listings worldwide, stated that "truck driver" job listings had increased by 45% from January to March 2009.

Foreclosure "Trash Out" companies are one of the fastest growing companies in the new economy; these companies remove the contents of foreclosed properties, often by loading it onto a truck and driving away.

So with all these opportunities why are WIA, Workforce Investment Act, offices sending potential students away and what effect will this have on the industry?

How WIll All Of This Effect The Trucking Industry?

Unemployment offices are seeing an increase in truck drivers filing for unemployment; yep, those truck drivers that were laid off when their companies "creamed" are filing for unemployment benefits, imagine that. The unemployment offices, not aware of the "creaming", automatically assume that truck drivers are being laid off because there are no jobs in the industry; they're sending potential truck driving students into the nursing field now.

Previously there was a lack of drivers and many jobs, then the new economy was birthed and the industry adopted a new way of going about business, choosing the cream of the crop. Creaming is a quick and successful fix for getting through the new economy but it does bring problems for the industry's future. Many drivers were let go and many potential drivers were turned away so when consumers consume and goods have to be transported at the rate they were transported previously, there will be an ever more drastic, insanely desperate, need for drivers.

Advice When Applying for a Truck Driving Job

Take extra time to complete each application perfectly. Perfectly means correct spelling, concise printing, exact dates, each line completed and "n/a" placed where it doesn't apply. You are being judged by your application. If a company receives ten applications every day and yours is missing information and difficult to read, they aren't going to take the time to decipher it or call you and ask that you complete parts you missed. Make sure your application is perfect or don't bother submitting it because you'll just waste your time.

Check your history. If you've had recent tickets, felonies, DUIs or a spotty work history getting a job is going to be difficult, not impossible but difficult. Also, keep in mind that if a felony is over twenty years old it's still on your record, don't omit it thinking that it went away, it didn't.

Apply to several places, even the ones that aren't your top choice. With the new economy some trucking companies are still using the tactic of hiring freezes to level out their fleets. If you apply to only your first choice and they're on a hiring freeze, you won't be hired till they remove the freeze and this may leave you in line at the unemployment office. Apply several places and be open to working for a company that may have not been your first or second choice, you can change-up to your favorite when they open up hiring again.

Consider going over the road for awhile. Local drivers that have been laid off, either because the company was squeezed out by a larger one or because they were a casualty of creaming, should consider hitting the wide open roads for a bit. A lot of these local drivers headed to the unemployment office instead of the want ads but there is work. The work may not be local for awhile but if you want to be the one making money in this economy then you're going to have to drive the semi over state lines. The old saying is still true, if you don't use it, you'll lose it - If you take a hiatus in this economy you will need a refresher course when the consumers start to consume again, stay on the roads and avoid refresher courses that start at a thousand dollars.

So, if you have a truck driving job you may be the best of the best, if you don't have a truck driving job get one now and if you don't have a CDL sign up for school, you're going to be in high demand soon.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Driving Under the Influence


Driving While Intoxicated


Operating While Intoxicated


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

by Brett Aquila

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