Truck driver shortage is raising prices, delaying deliveries
If you see prices creeping higher for everything from cereal to socks in the next few months, you can probably blame this stark reality: There aren’t enough truck drivers delivering the goods to stores.
A severe shortage of truckers is pushing up freight costs and, in turn, nudging up retail prices. And it’s occasionally leading to late deliveries that leave store shelves empty. Self-driving trucks eventually may provide some relief, but driver shortfalls are expected to only get worse over the next few years.
The crunch also is affecting corporate profits and the stock market as higher transportation costs ding company earnings now being reported. It occasionally has forced manufacturers to shut down production if they don’t receive raw materials in time.
The driver shortage has been going on for years, with Baby Boomers retiring and few Millennials willing to endure hardships such as being away from home for weeks at a time on cross-country deliveries. But it has taken a bigger toll the past year as the economy has strengthened, increasing demand for items ranging from oil and housing supplies to clothing and consumer electronics. Fast-growing e-commerce shipments, particularly from Amazon, add to the congestion. And it’s likely to intensify in coming months as the holiday season draws closer, analysts say, with deliveries arriving as early as late spring.
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