In today's slow economy there are tons of layoffs and more people than ever are considering going to truck driving school and becoming a truck driver - and rightly so. The trucking industry has always had a very high demand for drivers, trucking schools are relatively short and inexpensive, and truck driving jobs generally pay very well. There are a lot of other perks for truck drivers, too - but none of that will matter if you can't find a job once you get your CDL. So what is the current job outlook for those that are new to the trucking industry?
I wish I could say it was better. But I think fairly soon it will be.
Right now in the trucking industry there is a double whammy - the economy is terrible and we're at the slowest time of the year in trucking. To hear about layoffs in the trucking industry is simply remarkable. But it actually isn't as bad for new students as it is for experienced drivers. New drivers will make less money right after coming out of school than experienced drivers will, and cutting costs is the number one priority in today's economy for everyone. Fuel, tires, and payroll are the three largest expense items for trucking companies and they'll do anything they can to cut costs.
As of this writing, our truck driving jobs board is packed full of jobs. But they may just be trying to get all of the applications they can get so that when things do turn around they have plenty of drivers available. Our authors Pappy and Tumbleweed are both experienced truck drivers who are struggling to find work right now. TruckerMike, who is currently in truck driving school and getting ready to take the driving and backing portions of his CDL test, has one pre-hire right now with an orientation date in early March, but has struggled to get more pre-hires at the moment. He also had one pre-hire cancel because of a hiring freeze. Rhonda is currently employed with a trucking company and is getting her share of work.
So, things are far from what you would call "going well" for the trucking industry right now, as is the case for everyone in this economy, but there are still jobs available, especially for students. If you're considering getting into the trucking industry, I would say the best way to go right now would be to find companies that offers free CDL training, or at least require very little money up front. That way you are guaranteed a job once you complete your training and have your CDL license.
It doesn't look like President Obama's Stimulus Plan is going to do much to stimulate the economy, at least not from what I'm hearing. I'm an avid follower of the stock market and the economy, and I watch CNBC morning 'til night five days a week. Nobody seems optimistic about anything right now, not even the Stimulus Plan. But if you can get hired by a company that offers CDL training you should be in great shape. They wouldn't hire you and put you through the training if they weren't going to put you in a truck and get you rollin'. The training they'll give you is their investment in you. They recoop that investment by putting you to work at a lower rate and possibly requiring you to pay them back for some of the training. So it wouldn't make sense to accept you into their program, train you, and then not put you to work.
Stay tuned as winter turns to spring, the normal seasonality in the trucking industry picks up, and hopefully the economy begins to show signs of life. If we can just begin to get the ball rolling a little bit, it will have a major impact on the trucking industry and the job prospects for both new and experienced drivers alike.