J.B. Hunt Says 10% Raises Are the Antidote to the Truck-Driver Shortage
America’s largest trucking company is combating a driver shortage by raising wages — and so far, it’s working out.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said late Monday its contract-services unit has raised wages by around 10 percent over the last 12 to 18 months to recruit new drivers. That compares with a 2.8 percent increase in average hourly earnings for all U.S. private-sector workers in the 12 months through September, and 4.3 percent over the past 18 months, according to Labor Department figures.
“We have been recruiting drivers very well in this difficult market because of the pay that we’ve been able to price into our deals for our drivers,” Nicholas Hobbs, president of the contract-services business, said Monday on a conference call following the Lowell, Arkansas-based company’s third-quarter earnings release.
The comments add to anecdotal signs that wages and perks in the industry are picking up as customers seek shipping services to meet solid demand amid the lowest unemployment since 1960s.
Read more: How a Trucking Shortage Is Fueling U.S. Inflation: QuickTake
Even so, the Labor Department’s official data have yet to show such a strong pickup in pay: Average hourly earnings for long-distance general freight trucking employees were up just 1.9 percent in September from a year earlier.