BILLINGS - The trucking industry has found a challenge finding drivers and one Billings company held a job fair to find people to help.
In nine years, this is the first time Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. in Billings has needed to hold a fair.
"There's been a bit of a truck driver shortage for a long time or at least been talking about truck driver shortages for a long time," said Michael Deneen, Old Dominion service center manager. "And COVID didn't help. Fortunately here at OD, we've been pretty solid on the hiring side. But I have seen the difference, you know, two years ago, where I would get 100 applicants when I have an opening, I only get 25 now. So yes, it's there. There's a significant difference."
Deneen said it's been a challenge to find qualified drivers.
"For whatever reason that might be, I mean, just less of them," he said. "And then everybody is trying to hire."
One applicant who did not want to do an interview, says Old Dominion is among the top companies for truck drivers
"From a driver standpoint it's a super neat job," Deneen said. "Get to see a lot of stuff and you're out there outside all the time. You're not, you know, trapped in an office. I enjoyed it when I was younger and did it. I would do it again. If I was younger I would take the same path."
Dineen talked about the trucking industry and the economy.
"Everything that you own a driver's touched somewhere along the line," Deneen said. "And we fill up all the stores all the warehouses, all the restaurants, all that food, clothing, all those products have to be trucked somewhere. Once COVID started, it's really been kind of a little bit of a roller coaster at the very beginning. Once the country really came back restocking everything and then trying to get all the goods from the manufacturer to the in-the-line users has been super challenging, and it's going to be a challenge for a while."