Nearly every consumer product - from food, to textiles to electronics - sold in the US at some point touches the bed of a truck. Which is why the shortage of truckers to ferry goods across the US has become such an intractable problem for American companies - and unemployment at 3.8% isn't helping.
A shortage of workers is forcing trucking firms to raise wages and provide other incentives as they seek to fill an "official" shortage of 60,000 jobs that some industry insiders say is really closer to 100,000.
And as companies become more desperate, they're willing to take a look at applicants who never would've had a chance under normal circumstances, according to the Washington Post.
At TDDS Technical Institute, an independent trucker school in Ohio where Blocksom has considered enrolling, veteran teachers say they have never seen it this bad. They say there may be closer to 100,000 truck driver openings.
"As long as you can get in and out of a truck and pass a physical, a trucking company will take a look at you now," said Tish Sammons, the job placement coordinator at TDDS, whose desk is full of toy trucks and fliers from the companies that call her daily begging for drivers. "I recently placed someone who served time for manslaughter."
WaPo's story opens with an anecdote about Bob Blocksom, an 87-year-old retired insurance salesman who is searching for a job after having not saved enough money for retirement.Bob Blockson
And trucking companies, as it turns out, are willing to give him a shot - even as most employers wouldn't consider a man his age. The only thing holding him back? Being away from his wife of 60 years.
LAKE MILTON, Ohio — Bob Blocksom, an 87-year-old former insurance salesman, needs a job. He hasn’t saved enough money for his retirement. And trucking companies, desperate for workers, are willing to give him one.
Age didn’t matter, they said. If Blocksom could get his "CDL" — commercial driver’s license — they would hire him for a $50,000 job. One even offered to pay his tuition for driver training school, but there was a catch: Blocksom had to commit to driving an 18-wheel truck all over the United States for a year.
So far, that has been too big of an ask for Blocksom, who doesn’t want to spend long stretches of time away from his wife of 60 years. "The more I think about it, it would be tough to be on the road Monday through Friday," he said.
Wages listed in the story ranged as high as $80,000 a year - plus benefits. And some companies say they're considering raises because that still isn't enough to appeal to young people. Already, WaPo...