How does FTR estimate the driver shortage?

FTR’s driver shortage metric includes data on demographics, the business cycle, and regulations.

There are 3 main impacts to the shortage: demographics, the business cycle, and regulations.

  • Demographics and work force patterns are the standard view and you will see numerous reports from industry associations about the impact of this on the current and future shortage. The problem is that in any given year the amount is small and only adds up after a significant time span.
  • Business Cycle considerations are much more pronounced but short-term. Businesses under-hire until certain of growth and are slow to layoff in case of a rebound. This creates natural shortages (and surpluses) that stem from typical economic activity.
  • Regulations are the hardest to factor (but currently the most important) since their impacts vary across the industry and much of the time the predictions of timing are fraught with peril due to governmental considerations.

FTR’s driver shortage estimate includes all 3 components due to our understanding of economic conditions, overall market sizing, and quantifying regulatory impacts on truck productivity. It is relatively easy for us to tease out the impacts of the business cycle versus regulations. It is harder to pull out a purely demographic number - since it is relatively small in any given year. The standard reported figures are a good estimate to use in that regard.