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NOTEBOOK – ONE GOOD READ: The biggest kink in America’s supply chain: Not enough truckers


America is hearing about the international supply chain issues, from getting parts to backlogs at various ports, but the main problem in getting products to their destination domestically is a worsening shortage of truck drivers. The New York Times reports truckers have always been in short supply given the demanding work, but retirements and resignations have led to a need for a record 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Association. Trying to attract younger generations who are looking at four-year college and view the job as “isolating” is a challenge as well as retaining the remaining workforce. Companies raised wages, with pay for long-distance drivers increasing about 21% since 2019, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill extended a helping hand by lowering the age requirement for drivers crossing state lines from 21 to 18. Veterans of the industry like Derek Leathers, president and chief executive of Werner Enterprises in Omaha, are saying the driver market is as tight as they’ve ever seen it, and reversing that trend will be necessary for the country to restore the supply chain.

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