Trucking news is buzzing with the recent earnings reports for independent operators. The COVID-19 recovery efforts marked a boost in income for drivers. The forecast looks good for the near future, as truckers continue to provide assistance with pandemic relief and holiday season service delivery. Here is a look at how owner-operator incomes appear to be changing in recent months.   

Pay Jumps This Quarter

The first quarter of this year was tough for drivers as the pandemic shutdown drastically slowed business traffic, yet the second and third quarters showed marked improvement. Incomes for leased reefer haulers, flatbed operators and leased dry vans rose in the third quarter to produce the best gains of the year due to strong rates and lots of miles driven.  

If the income average for the most recent quarter was annualized, the net pay for operators would be $68,000. This shows a monetary increase of 7% over the months of July through September and a needed boost given the shaky start to the year.

Income Outlook Is Good

To add more good news, the fourth quarter is beginning strong with high rates and more than enough miles for working drivers. Owner-operators hope to take advantage of this trend in case there is a future shutdown.

Right now, spot rates are on target with the record-setting pace of 2018. The for-hire trucking industry added 10,000 jobs in October, according to the Department of Labor’s report. This brings the total number of truckers hired since May to 33,000. The recovery has been uneven in many parts of the industry, but this news is a relief to many operators trying to reestablish their foothold in a fluctuating market.

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