Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Despite our state having a 9.4 percent unemployment rate trucking companies are looking to fill 200,000 positions nationwide.
"We have seen a decrease in the number of drivers. We are seeing a lot of older drivers and it is being hard trying to replace those older guys who have made our industry what it is today," said G&P Trucking President Clifton Parker.
Parker says the economy is not why they are short of drivers, it's the interest in the job.
"Ideally we would be at 2% empty trucks and right now we are at 10% empty trucks so we need employees," said Parker.
Nationwide trucking companies need to fill about 200,000 positions, here in the Midlands G&P needs to fill 35 positions.
Entry level pay starts at about 35 thousand dollars and despite the good salary, a lot of young workers are still not interested.
"We do require drivers to be gone away from home for extended periods of time and if you do not have buy in from your spouse it can cause a lot of grief in the family life, so its kind of one of those things that everyone buys in the money is good, there is a little bit of sacrifice but we have found a lot of people who have enjoyed making this career. "
Employees ages 21 to 35 make up almost 2 percent of the workers at G and P. Parker says they are working with area colleges to change that.
"We have a driver finishing program that has been approved by the state, so we do take drivers out of these school programs and we pair them up with one of our experience drivers and work with them for about 6 weeks and then they are on their own."
And with the rough economy, he believes working in the trucking industry is a career you can depend on.
"This is probably the most secure job you can have when there is a bad economy, you can count on a paycheck if you are in the trucking industry."
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