From bread and butter to towels and toilet paper, we rely on trucks to transport things we need on a daily basis.
However, the trucking industry is facing a major shortage of workers.
The American Trucking Association says 60,000 truck drivers are needed right now, and that number could balloon to almost 175,000 by 2024.
In his late 40s, Aaron Hatfield decided to step into a new career as a truck driver.
“I’ve been a pastor. I’ve owned my own business. I’ve worked in tech support. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. This is the best money I’ve made,” Hatfield said.
Despite the pay, the trucking industry is facing a severe worker shortage. Hatfield has noticed it first-hand.
“There are a lot of full trailers sitting around ready to be picked up, and nobody is picking them up,” Hatfield said.
“If we have a driver, we can find a truck. We always have an opening for a qualified driver,” Shelley Koch said.
Koch is the president of K & J Trucking. The Sioux Falls business is celebrating 40 years.
“Forty years ago drivers were very easy to come by. We could hire drivers every day. I don’t know that we paid a ton of attention to turnover numbers back then because there was always a new driver. In the last 20 years driver turnover numbers are super important,” Koch said.
K & J Trucking is trying to appeal to more younger workers through things, such as social media posts.
“For us we’re down to about 48 years for the average age. That’s down significantly in the last few years,” Koch said.
Koch says much of the driver turnover is because employees get tired of being away from family.
Hatfield tries to make it easier by bringing his dog Molly with him on the road, and he views this career as an adventure.
“I love to see the scenery,” Hatfield said.
An adventure that fewer workers have been choosing.
Koch also says some long-time drivers quit the business because of an increase in government regulations, including new electronic logging devices.