Trucking association chief says industry is on ‘edge of cliff’

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear argued Tuesday that the slow return to work is “exacerbating the supply chain’s ability to meet demand.”

Speaking on ‘Mornings with Maria,’ Spear explained the impact on the supply chain due to the “chronic shortage of talent”, which has led to unused and unloaded cargo at US ports.

He also noted that truckers are now moving more with fewer people and “even less equipment in many cases.”

“I think we’re on the edge of a cliff right now,” Spear told host Maria Bartiromo.

“I think a year of policies that got us there generally stem from rewarding people for not going back to work,” he continued, noting that he thinks this has contributed to the “chronic shortage of talent, not just in trucking where we are short of 81,000 drivers, but in all employment sectors.”

Earlier this month it was revealed that the latest JOLTS job openings report stood at 10.6 million in November after hitting a record high of 11.03 million the previous month.

Spear pointed out that “everyone is experiencing this slow return to work now,” whether it’s grocery shopping or on a plane trip, and noted that the situation is contributing to the supply chain crisis.

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“It really has an impact,” Spear told Bartiromo. “You see that in 40 years of high inflation.”

Last week, inflation was revealed to have risen at the fastest pace in nearly four decades in December, as rapid price rises stoked consumer fears about the economy.

The consumer price index rose 7% in December from a year ago, according to a new report from the Labor Department released on Wednesday, marking the fastest rise since June 1982, when inflation hit reached 7.1%. The CPI — which measures a host of goods from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents — jumped 0.5% in the month-long period from November.

Economists had expected the index to show prices jumped 7% in December from the year-ago period and 0.4% from the previous month.

Price increases were widespread: Although energy prices fell 1.1% in December from the previous month, they are still up 29.3% from a year ago . Gasoline costs on average 49.6% more than last year. Food prices also rose 6.3% over the year, while prices for used cars and trucks – a major component of rising inflation – rose 37.3%. %. Housing costs, which account for nearly a third of the total increase, jumped 0.4% for the month and 4.1% year-on-year, the fastest pace since February 2007.

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“We’re all taking a pay cut in 2022 as a result of bad policies,” Spear said Tuesday.

He warned that it could be at least three quarters before the situation improves.

“But it doesn’t have to be that hard or that long if you put the right policy in place, rather than just being perceived as doing something, you’ll get out of this COVID-induced rut much faster,” Spear continued. , castigating the policies of the Biden administration.

He also criticized vaccination mandates on Tuesday, which he said “adds an additional headwind” to the industry that “moves 72% of inland freight.”

“If you’re concerned about the supply chain, adding extra layers and mandates won’t make it any easier,” Spear explained.

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Megan Henney of FOX Business contributed to this report.

Andrew B. Reiter