A shortage of truck drivers is a big part of the country’s supply chain problems. The trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers, an all-time high for the industry, according to the American Trucking Associations. The shortage, which existed pre-pandemic but has grown worse since then, comes at a critical time in the retail supply chain cycle, with U.S. ports backlogged just before the start of the holiday shopping season. Truck drivers move 71% of the US economy's goods,. “Since we last released an estimate of the shortage, there has been tremendous pressure on the driver pool,” said Bob Costello, chief economist, ATA. “Increased demand for freight, pandemic-related challenges from early retirements, closed driving schools and DMVs, and other pressures are really pushing up demand for drives and subsequently the shortage." The outlook for the next few years doesn’t offer much hope. Based on driver demographic trends, including gender and age, as well as expected freight growth the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030.
Futures in New York rose 2.9 percent on Wednesday. An Energy Information Administration report showed shrinking American petroleum surpluses and the first crude withdrawal from the largest U.S. storage complex in six weeks. The U.S. draw-downs underlined optimism that an OPEC-led effort to curb global supplies will be reinforced later this week when the cartel and allied producers gather in Saudi Arabia.
“We continue to see extremely strong compliance” by OPEC nations to self-imposed supply limits, said Nick Holmes, an analyst at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas, which manages $16 billion in energy-related assets. “It’s a multitude of factors that are contributing to that tighter inventory picture. Globally, we are seeing strong crude demand.”
The EIA reported U.S. crude stockpiles dropped 1.07 million barrels last week, while supplies at the Cushing, Oklahoma, pipeline hub dropped by 1.12 million. Gasoline supplies fell 2.97 million barrels and distillate stocks slid 3.11 million barrels to the lowest level since November.
more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-18/oil-holds-gains-above-66-on-report-u-s-crude-stockpiles-shrunk