- Driver wages grew 15.5% YoY in 2022 up to $0.724 per mile, reflecting the “ongoing industry effort to attract and retain drivers,” according to a recent report from the American Transportation Research Institute.
- The increase marks the fastest annual growth ever observed by the industry group, which first reported annual trucking costs in 2008.
- ATRI’s report noted that the increase in wages came despite a softening freight market in recent months. Among the changes in overall compensation, starting and retention bonuses both increased by over 20% in 2022 compared to 2021, even when taking into account inflation.
Wages have been on an upward trajectory in recent months, but that could moderate as inflation has slowed during the first half of 2023, according to ATRI.
For the trucking industry, average hourly wages rose from $26.69 per hour in Q1 2022 to $28.69 per hour for Q1 2023, and preliminary data for April showed that rising to $29.22 per hour, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
One industry player observing the trend in moderating wage increases is Werner Enterprises, which executives discussed on a May earnings call. The carrier increased driver pay per mile by 6% in Q1, while in Q4 2021 it spiked 22% amid the pandemic.
"We think most of that pay pressure is behind us, especially with the macro backdrop of what is more likely to be a tougher labor market for employment itself,” CEO, President and Chairman Derek Leathers said on the call.