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Truck driver shortage hurts supply chain, but offers competitive wages for drivers

Juan Rivera from 1st Class CDL Truck Training in Tampa says he's seeing students get job offers that are $45-50 an hour.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you’ve ever thought about being a truck driver, now may be the time to hit the road and chase that dream. Not only could you make some cash, but you could also help fix a supply chain problem the entire country is facing.

“America moves on trucks," said Juan Rivera from 1st Class CDL Truck Training. 

We’re learning this lesson the hard way.

You know the shipping container issue we’ve been telling you about? That problem is impacting the prices and stock of basic things that you need.

Well, truck drivers play a huge part in that supply chain. 

Your goods may be making it to the ports, but without enough drivers, it takes longer, and costs more, to get to you.

“Without that middle man taking it from one place to the other," Rivera said. "You won’t be able to get it, you won’t be able to buy it. It’ll be sitting down at the warehouse.”

Rivera is the manager over at 1st Class CDL Truck Training in Tampa, and he says the need for drivers is causing big companies to get more aggressive when it comes to recruiting and pay. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $47,130 in May 2020. 

Rivera says these days, he’s seeing big companies offer driving jobs paying $45-50 an hour.

“Man, they are trying," he said. "They’ll give you tuition reimbursement, they’ll give you 5-10 grand signing bonus. They’re trying their best to get you to drive with them because there are shortages of drivers.”

And he says people are taking advantage.

Rivera tells 10 Tampa Bay, this is typically their slow season for people signing up to get CDL license training. But this year, he says things have picked up. 

"A lot of people who were staying without a job, when they were getting that assist, they were using it to invest in a better future," Rivera said. "So a lot of people came here to do the course."