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Time - November 12, 2021

As the U.S. contends with supply-chain problems that could make holiday shopping harder, one explanation comes up again and again: The country doesn’t have enough truckers. “The Biggest Kink in America’s Supply Chain: Not Enough Truckers,” a New York Times story read this week. Where Are All the Truck Drivers? Shortage Adds to Delivery Delays, cried a Wall Street Journal headline the week before.

In reality, there is no shortage of people who want to get into truck driving, nor is there a shortage of people who have obtained commercial driving licenses (CDLs).

The stories inevitably cite a report from the American Trucking Association that says the industry is short 80,000 drivers and quote experts who blame the alleged shortage on a lack of people interested in these difficult jobs. Yet, in California alone, there are 640,445 people who hold active Class A and Class B commercial driver’s licenses, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Meanwhile there are only 140,000 “truck transportation” jobs in the state, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Those numbers speak to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people who become truck drivers every year—some with their training subsidized by the government—only to find that the job pays much less than they’d been led to believe, and that working conditions in the industry are terrible. ...
Read full report at Time