A severe shortage of truckers is pushing up freight costs and, in turn, nudging up retail prices, according to a report from USA Today.  Self-driving trucks eventually may provide some relief, but driver shortfalls are expected to only get worse over the next few years.

The crunch also is affecting corporate profits and the stock market as higher transportation costs ding company earnings now being reported. It occasionally has forced manufacturers to shut down production if they do not receive raw materials in time.

The driver shortage has been going on for years, with Baby Boomers retiring and few Millennials willing to endure hardships such as being away from home for weeks at a time on cross-country deliveries. But it has taken a bigger toll the past year as the economy has strengthened, increasing demand. Fast-growing e-commerce shipments, particularly from Amazon, add to the congestion.