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Everywhere I look I read that there is a shortage of truck drivers, even as joblessness surpasses 9 percent. The latest numbers show a deficiency of 20,000, and if this trend continues, which studies predict will be the case; we will need to hire a total of 114,000 new drivers by the year 2014.

The large gap between driver supply and cargo demand adds to evidence that the freight industry is recovering and many are optimistic that there will be continued growth in the second half. Freight is growing at close to 4 percent while the new truck-driver population is growing at less than 1 percent.

The hardest hit will be for long-haul drivers as this part of the industry is the fastest growing sector. Studies show that over the next ten years there will be a need for 200,000 new long-haul drivers to come into the industry to meet the demand.

Many companies are recruiting more women drivers to help fulfill the need. Women make up only 5 percent of the truck drivers at present, but the number is rapidly growing. African Americans and Hispanics make up 11.7 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.

Several reasons younger people are not entering the business are long periods of time on the road away from their families, truck-drivers have a bad reputation, there is no career ladder in place, there are too many government regulations, and lousy pay.

Analysts expect the economy to grow faster in 2012 than in 2011, and freight rates to rise faster than inflation. If you ever thought about becoming a truck driver and driving across the country, there is no better time than now to do so.

It is a brand new year, why not a brand new career to go with it?