Grocery costs rise as trucking corporations seek for drivers | Illinois
(The Center Square) – The cost of a steak to grill continues to rise, and this is largely due to the lack of truck drivers in Illinois and the rest of the country.
The shortage started before the COVID-19 pandemic and is only getting worse. According to the American Trucking Association, 61,000 drivers were missing at the end of 2019.
The Illinois Trucking Association recently conducted a survey of businesses across the state and 97% said they were short of truck drivers.
ITA executive director Matt Hart said the main problem appears to be improved unemployment benefits.
“In many cases they have been set up so that people could actually make more money by staying home than going to work, and we see that in the trucking, hospitality, manufacturing, so this is it the number one problem I hear when I speak to haulage companies across the state, ”said Hart.
Twenty-five states removed the additional federal benefits to get more people back into work. Governor JB Pritzker said Illinois would not join the movement.
Other factors mentioned by industry officials include an aging workforce, pandemic retirements, and a federally mandated drug and alcohol clearinghouse program.
Hart said that scarcity affects not only the things we buy, but also the things we throw away. He finds that the Chicago garbage disposal is overrun because there aren’t enough drivers to take the garbage out of the city.
The driver shortage also leads to temporary gas shortages. There is a lot of fuel, but the problem is getting it to the pumps. Recently, two Casey’s General Stores in Decatur and Warrensburg ran out of fuel.
The average wage for a truck driver is around $ 51,000, but some companies offer more compensation to lure the drivers.
According to the Overdrive website, Averitt Express is raising salaries for all regional non-hazardous goods truck drivers this week to 52 cents per mile with an estimated annual pay of $ 62,400 per year. In addition, all qualified regional truck drivers will receive a sign-up bonus of $ 5,000 for a limited time.
Paper Transport is increasing the pay of drivers in regional positions between 8% and 25% in its Midwestern operations area, which includes Illinois.
“The pay is very, very good,” said Hart. “I don’t know of a single shipping company that hasn’t raised its wages just to keep up with current demand.”