By Lisa Henthorn, Corporate Communications & Marketing

Companies looking for relief from the worst driver shortage in history won’t find it in the latest jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor, which shows that for-hire trucking employment climbed to an all-time high in January.

As FleetOwner reports: “The January increase puts the for-hire trucking total at 1.4657 million, 12,300 more jobs than the pre-recession high from January 2007. And there were 232,500 (18.8%) more trucking jobs in January than were reported in March 2010, the low point in the downturn.”

This trend could drag on for years, according to Logistics Management’s Group News Editor Jeff Berman, who blogs that “we could well be in the very early innings of a game that is, and continues, to be hard to watch.”

All of this means that competition for qualified drivers is more intense than ever – to attract and retain reliable drivers, companies can expect to pay. Higher wages, larger bonuses and better benefits will only add fuel to the fire of rising freight costs, which many companies are struggling to contain.

Though self-driving trucks might dramatically change the employment picture in the future, most experts predict that day won’t be arriving anytime soon. Companies must find other ways to trim spend – and that’s exactly what a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) can help do.

A growing number of companies are using the route optimization and planning technologies in the Eyefreight TMS to mitigate the impact of the seemingly endless driver shortage. By examining orders for variables such as size, type and destination, and factoring in local variables like street restrictions, companies are able to plan the most cost-effective shipping routes for their drivers, carriers and partners.

For more details on how companies are managing their employment costs – and controlling their freight spend in all areas of their supply chains, check out Eyefreight’s white paper on “Combatting the Rising Costs of Distribution.”

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