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Truck Driver Jobs Hard To Fill Even In Bad Economy

Siplon looked at a range of supply-chain jobs â¿¿ from truck drivers and warehouse workers to air cargo supervisors â¿¿ using career-specific employment forecasts by the U.S. Department of Labor and then comparing those numbers with Education Department statistics showing how many degrees and certifications for those jobs are being earned each year.

The results found truck drivers will account for 43 percent of expected growth in logistics jobs, but those will also be the positions with the fewest workers trained to fill them.

That doesn't surprise Tom Pronk, vice president of recruiting for C.R. England, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based company that employs 7,500 truck drivers who deliver foods from companies such as Hershey, Nestle, ConAgra and Coca-Cola to retailers.

"We have an endless need basically in the industry," Pronk said. "Everybody I talk to is very thirsty for drivers. My personal opinion is it's only going to get worse before it gets better."

Truck drivers make decent money. The Department of Labor says the median yearly wage for tractor-trailer drivers is $37,770, with some drivers earning more than $57,000. Handte and Pronk both said some drivers can clear $100,000 a year.

Both men said older drivers are feeling pressured to retire by federal safety regulations enacted in 2010 that keep a closer watch on drivers' work hours, drug testing any tickets and traffic citations they get on the job. And the job can be hard to sell to younger workers who don't think it's worth the money to spend days and weeks on the road away from their families.

"For our new generation who's coming into the industry, the job is not as romantic to them as it was to their predecessors," Pronk said. "It's a tough job to be an on-the-road trucker."

Truck drivers don't need college degrees but they do need to earn a commercial driver's license. That can take a month or longer of taking classes that cost $3,000 or more.

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