Fleet Driver Pay Surging
Per-mile company driver pay surged in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to data from National Transportation Institute (NTI). Some fleets, mostly midsize to large carriers, pressed driver pay ahead by a range of seven to 11 cents a mile compared to 2017’s first three months.
“That’s a staggering amount,’’ said NTI President Gordon Klemp, who’s tracked driver pay changes since 1994. “These are very aggressive moves.’’
Fleets Tracked by NTI
Klemp said 6.25 percent of fleets tracked by NTI instituted pay boosts in the seven to 1-cent range. Another 43.75 percent of fleets surveyed by Klemp boosted driver pay in the four to six-cent range, also historically strong gains, Klemp said. The remaining 50 percent of carriers in Klemp’s data set raised by one to three cents per mile.
The wage increases were part of industrywide efforts to retain and recruit drivers, Klemp said. NTI saw almost no increase from the year prior in 2017’s first quarter. Pay moves didn’t begin until last spring and summer, and this cycle of driver wage hikes was shorter than most, according to Klemp.
Fleets at End of Cycle
Fleets are now at the end of about an eight-month cycle of pay increases, he said. In that time, 81 percent of the fleets he has studied have raised company driver pay.
“That’s also very high,” he said. “It tells us this pay cycle is going to end pretty quickly. There aren’t many fleets left who haven’t moved. We’re going to continue to see that last roughly 20 make their moves soon, and I expect another round of pay moves to kick off sometime this fall.’’
Refrigerated haulers saw the biggest per-mile pay gains, at 3.3 cents a mile. Flatbed driver pay climbed three cents a mile, and per-mile van pay climbed an average of 2.7 cents.
Klemp said data for the first two months of the second quarter showed continued acceleration in driver pay, with pay announcements from December and January beginning to kick in.
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