Despite a rebound in unemployment, over 1.3 million individuals within the trucking industry stay on unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At its peak, the unemployment rate in March 2020 reached 14.7% — though some estimate that the actual number might have topped 16%, as many many states were struggling to stay up with the influx of demand and some of those who were out of work had to wait months to begin receiving their unemployment benefits. As of August 2020, the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that September’s rate of unemployment can fall to 7.7%.

As of August 2020, about 1,386,000 individuals within the trucking industry remained on unemployment, compared to 587,000 in August 2019.

Household data

2020 Unemployment Rates By Month

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • February 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • April 2020 unemployment rate: 14.7%
  • May 2020 unemployment rate: 13.3%
  • June 2020 unemployment rate: 11.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.2%
  • August 2020 unemployment rate: 8.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


It’s unclear the number of CDL holders who stay on unemployment, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics groups all industries in categories. The transportation category accounts for a mixture of positions within the trucking industry.

With many trucking companies shutting their doors in 2020, combined with layoffs because of Covid, it’s possible to have caused an influx of need for unemployment benefits.

As freight volumes rise and unemployment remains high, trucking companies are scrambling to fill trucks to meet capacity demands.

According to a announcement from US Xpress, higher driver turnover, diminishing tl capacity and “overwhelming” volumes – that drive up rates in the coming year.

“Each of those three themes can greatly influence trucking rates over subsequent four to six quarters. It’s becoming increasingly clear that high tide conditions will persist for a long while, therefore shippers and carriers will have to be compelled to plan – and act – accordingly,” US Xpress President and corporate executive Eric Fuller stated.

To meet their driver needs, several trucking companies are upping their pay packages and offering generous sign-on bonuses. just this week, Schneider announced a new pay package.

“Schneider National said Monday that team truck drivers…received a pay bump of two to four cents per mile last month. It may appear puny, however Schneider says its team drivers average 5,000 to 6,000 miles per week — therefore it works bent a pay increase of up to $6,240 a year per driver. That has pushed annual pay for many Schneider drivers above $90,000, the company said,” Business business executive reported.

Many specialists within the industry agree, trucking companies are going to have to be compelled to up the ante to fill their seats.