But the shipping-container shortage won’t matter to South Dakota much if we can’t get our goods out to ports in the first place. KSFY reports we’ve been short on truck drivers since before the pandemic:
In 2018, the trucking industry was short just over 60,000 drivers.
The shortage seems to be getting worse due to the pandemic as many driving schools had to close their doors because of COVID-19.
President of K&J Trucking, Shelly Schipper, says the main problem in trucking is driver shortages. “Everybody is yelling for drivers these days and drivers are not moving, it is the worst I’ve seen it in the last several years” [Ernest Cottier, “Truck Driver Shortage Continues to Grow During Pandemic,” KSFY-TV, 2021.04.16].
You’d think it would be easier to find truckers than teachers, since Schuipper says trucking requires less education and pays a lot better:
“I think the shortage is more of a reflection of the demand today and less of the drivers coming in to the market, it’s still a great industry, drivers are going to make over $60,000 or $80,000 a year with a really short amount of schooling,” says Schipper [Cottier, 2021.04.16].
ZipRecruiter actually reports the average salary for truck drivers nationwide is $50,909, 4% better than South Dakota’s FY2020 average teacher pay of $49,008; the average trucker pay cracks $60K only in a couple cities in California, Alaska, and up in New Town, North Dakota, in the Bakken oil fields. The average truck driver pay in Aberdeen is $48,003, 4% below the local teacher pay average of $50,003.