Trucker shortage leaves Arkansas trucking companies in need of 5,000 drivers

Trucker shortage leaves Arkansas trucking companies in need of five thousand drivers

A Wall Street Journal logistics report showed that nationwide, trucking companies ordered over 52,000 semi-trucks to meet the demand that comes from a strong manufacturing industry.

Although the trucks have been purchased, the need for drivers is still an ever-growing problem.

Arkansas Trucking Association president Shannon Newton says big rigs like these, need more people behind the wheel.

"The driver's shortage is certainly real and, really, it's being felt across all sectors," she said.

Here in the Natural State, Newton says companies are needing somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 drivers.

"When the economy is really well it becomes just like the pressure point for everything," said Newton.

Whether it's the growing manufacturing industry or the successful construction and transportation industries, while that means a growing economy, it doesn't mean a growing workforce.

"When they're all doing well, then there's just not enough employees to meet the demand," Newton said.

This has caused some companies to try and use more creative methods like improving compensation, giving more time home and, in one company's case, having their own driving school to reward people with jobs upon completion of the training.

"As long as the economy continues to improve, as long as there are more people wanting more things faster, there's only one way to get it to them," Newton said. "A truck driver is really the only one that can make that final delivery."

Right now, Newton says the country is looking to fill the seats of about 63,000 trucks.

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