In the year 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 million tractor-trailer drivers currently employed throughout America. Just two years after that, the number increased to 1.7 million. While that might not seem like a lot just reading the number, in actuality, that increase represents the addition of 50,000 more drivers to the tractor-trailer driver career path each year. By continuing this trend into the future, it is predicted that by the year 2020, there will be an estimated 1.9 million tractor-trailer truck drivers on American roadways. Of course, this number does not take into account any existing drivers who retire or change careers. However, the numbers indicate a good estimation of the growth outlook within the industry. Consequently, these stats prove the continued upward trend in the trucking industry is alive and well, a fact we can attest to at Knight Transportation. Read on to learn even more about the trucking industry job growth.
The Importance of The Trucking Industry
Before looking at the outlook for the trucking industry in the upcoming year, it’s important to note the importance of the trucking industry and its validity as a career choice. Although it might not be considered as vital as some professions, like doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who can save lives, the truck driving profession is vital to the health of our economy.
Trucks move the vast majority of the freight within the United States, transporting an estimated 70% of all the nation’s goods. This means that every household and business within American depends, in some form, on the trucking industry. Demand for goods continues to increase, if truck drivers don’t also increase, this can lead to a slow down in shipping times and even an increase in shipping prices. Therefore, it is vital to America’s overall economic health for the trucking industry to be healthy and growing. Thankfully, that is the case currently and projects to be true for the foreseeable future.
Trucking Industry Job Growth in 2020 And Beyond
Let’s take a look at the growth projection of the trucking industry by looking through a few stats. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth numbers as it relates to the employment of truckers are as follows:
- Percentage Change or Growth Projected for 2018-2028 for Tractor-Trailer Drivers: Along with heavy truck operators as an occupation is expected to grow by 5%. This represents an increase of 99,700 drivers from 2018-2028.
- Another stat, which evaluated just tractor-trailer drivers, projected the industry to grow by even more, an astounding 200,000 jobs between 2012-2022.
What is the Demand Within the Trucking Industry For Drivers?
If you are thinking of pursuing a career in the trucking industry as a big rig driver, now is the time to take action. There are currently around 52,000 driver vacancies within the trucking industry, nationwide. This number represents a great opportunity for you to change careers and become a truck driver. Within this industry, you will have ample opportunities to find jobs and move up in your career.
Growth Expectations For The Industry as a Whole
The freight volume is also expected to increase in the coming years. The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the freight volume is expected to grow by 2.3% between 2024-2028. This shows a continued increase, not only in the need for drivers but the freight volume as well, proving the trucking industry as a whole is healthy and thriving.
Will The Demand For Drivers Ever Decrease?
For at least the foreseeable future, it is believed that the trucking industry will continue in an upward trajectory, and drivers will be in increasing demand. The demand for consumer goods is ever increasing, as mentioned above, which means new drivers are always in high demand.
Truck Drivers Remain Immune to Many Job Affecting Changes in Other Industries
Trucking, unlike other American jobs, is immune to two of the biggest changes that have altered employment opportunities, that being offshoring and automation. Driving goods across this great land cannot be outsourced to China or India. In addition, automation is not going to replace truckers, as a robot is unable to properly park or drive a big rig. Therefore, there is some longevity within this career field that other fields do not enjoy. While no person can accurately predict the future as it relates to anything, much less the economy, the outlook and educated projection for trucking as a profession are positive.
Truck Driving Remains a Good Way to Make a Living
The National Transportation Institute (NTI) states the average income for truck drivers (for hire) earn around $54,000. Private fleet drivers can make over $70,000. To compare this pay rate to other professions, note that the U.S. Census stated the median income for all American households was $56,516 in 2016. Truck driving is currently and will likely remain in the future a great way to make a solid middle-class living.
Counteracting The Negative Elements of the Trucking Industry
Every job comes along with some negative elements. The one most often noted within the trucking industry is the fact that drivers are somewhat isolated and away from their homes and families when working. While this is true, working with a good trucking company will ensure your route is flexible enough for you to be home as much as possible. When you compare it with the time away many other professions endure, such as military careers, truck driving isn’t really that bad after all in terms of being away from home. In addition, it’s a great way to see much of the country and experience a unique life.
What This All Means
All the stats and information serve the singular purpose of proving the continued growth of the trucking industry and the demand for truck drivers. If you have ever considered a career in the trucking industry, now is an ideal time to make a career move trucking industry job growth as a whole is healthy and robust.