Around 4,500 truck drivers lost their jobs in August as the trucking 'bloodbath' rages on
Truck drivers like Chad Boblett, a Lexington, Kentucky-based owner-operator, said 2019 has been a "bloodbath." Rates in the spot market, where loads are moved on demand rather than being facilitated through a contract, are down 15% from last year, when truckers reaped historic profits.
Indicators from the trucking industry have been sour in 2019. In the first half of the year, around 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, according to industry data from Broughton Capital LLC. That's more than triple the number of bankruptcies from the same period last year — about 175.
Trucking is often looked at as a leading indicator of where the rest of the economy is headed. As 71% of America's freight is moved on trucks, companies foreseeing needing fewer trucks or fewer drivers is typically an omen of an economic downturn: If manufacturers are producing less, and people are buying less, there's less of a need to move goods.