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Cleveland-based trucking companies exploring new ways to attract drivers amid shortage

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Posted at 7:48 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 07:48:55-04

CLEVELAND — Demetrius Holmes and Gene Carson work in the same industry and right now their struggles are parallel.

“One of the main issues right now is finding workers,” said Holmes.

"The biggest problem is trying to recruit drivers," said Carson.

Holmes owns Free Wheeling Logistics Trucking and Carson is the Vice President of Operations at Cleveland Express Trucking.

"Most of the time we only have them [drivers] out a couple of days a week but since there’s such a demand right now, we keep them out a bit longer, so they are working more days than normal during the week," said Holmes.

The driver shortage isn't new though, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA) the trucking industry was already short nearly 61,000 drivers in 2018.

The ATA estimated that the shortage would jump to more than 100,000 by 2023.

Meanwhile, The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the US Gross Domestic Product increased by 6.7% between April and June of 2021.

Long story short, Americans are spending money, but it is tough to keep the shelves stocked.

“It limits what we can do for customers and sometimes new customers,” said Carson. “It puts us in a longer delay before we can take something, sometimes the delay is two or three days."

Carson said he has raised his hourly pay twice this year and is marketing jobs on new websites. Holmes reiterated that he is hiring individuals with felony convictions.

"We look past that [the convictions], we understand people can make bad decisions in five to 10 seconds that can change their entire life,” said Holmes. “We look deeply into their family, get to know them and that's how we make our decision."

More trucking companies may have to put their thinking caps on to attract drivers because the ATA said the driver shortage could continue well into 2028.

RELATED: USPS Cleveland hiring 1,000 seasonal and full-time workers, hosting application workshops

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