An Excel Chart of a Major U.S. Supply Chain Problem

A shortage of truckers is one cause of the supply chain crisis in the US. This Excel chart suggests that the problem won't end soon.

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October 23, 2021

Download the workbook with the chart showing the US trucker shortage.
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A shortage of truckers is one cause of the supply chain crisis in the US. This Excel chart suggests that the problem won't end soon.A shortage of truckers now appears to be the greatest problem with the United States’ supply chain.

In fact, President Biden said in a town hall on Thursday that he would consider sending in the National Guard to drive trucks to reduce the crisis.

According to a Yahoo.com news report, the US trucking industry is short by a record 80,000 drivers amid the supply-chain crisis. That number is so high that I decided to set up this Excel chart to check it out for myself:

This Excel chart illustrates the severe trucker shortage the US has had since the Covid recession began.

To create this chart, I went to the All Employees, Truck Transportation page at the Federal Reserve Economic Database, FRED. Because I had already set up an Excel template with the Power Query query I needed, I set up the chart’s green line in about two minutes.

I spent another few minutes adding a column of formulas that used Excel’s TREND function to calculate the data for the dotted trendline. I couldn’t use the chart’s trendline feature, because I wanted to continue a trend that ended in February 2020, the last month before the Covid recession began.

And then I add the subtitle to the chart, which updates automatically as the data updates.

As you can see, the estimate of a trucker shortage of 80,000 people appears to be correct. But unfortunately, it also looks like there’s been virtually no progress in closing that gap.

Because I used my Excel Productivity reporting strategy, I was able to create this chart in a few minutes—and I can update it in a few seconds

In a couple of weeks I’m giving some free training about my productivity strategy. If you want to be notified when the training begins, follow this link and download the sample workbook.