Recession Drives Workers to Trucking

Surging unemployment solves industry's chronic struggle to haul in drivers

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2009 2:07 AM CST

(Newser) – Hard times have reversed the trucking industry's trouble finding recruits, the Wall Street Journal reports. Applications have surged as workers who once shunned the industry's demanding conditions can no longer afford to be choosy. At the same time the number of trucks on the road has dropped. Firms that once engaged in cut-throat competition to lure drivers now have a backlog of applications. "I've never seen it like this in 24 years," said one company owner.

More than 137,650 trucks went off the road last year as thousands of trucking firms went out of business.   (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
Tractor-trailers idle at an Illinois truck stop in this file photo. The filthy conditions at some truck stops are cited by many drivers as one of the industry's biggest drawbacks.   (Getty Images)
A chronic shortage of drivers once led trucking companies to offer everything from signing bonuses to letting drivers take their pets on the road.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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We're enjoying our newfound popularity. - Swift Transportation Co. Vice President David Berry

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