One of the fastest growing industries in America is the transportation industry (commercial truck driving). The estimated growth rate of 21% by 2020 (Green, 2014) is double the national average cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The transportation industry provides great opportunities for the next decade for employment, entrepreneurship, and advancement in the industry. Business Insider cites the “staggering statistics behind the trucking industry,” noting this hidden giant dominates the commercial transport industry with 83.7% in the national annual transport revenue, collecting $650 billion in revenue, pays $35 billion in Federal, State, and Highway Use taxes, and has an annual expenditure in driver earnings that tops $30 billion (Ro, 2013).
Among the leading states in the transportation industry are Florida, Texas, California, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. The value of the shipped freight is over $139 billion per year with a total distance of annual highway travel of 93 billion miles, which equates to 256,197,260 miles per day and 2,965 miles per second. Sam Ro’s article for the Business Insider cites these staggering statistics equal traveling around the earth 3,775,351 times and making 195,713 trips to the moon!
The demand for truck drivers will keep growing, with a projected increase in 2014 of 1.1 million jobs in just the segment of the transportation industry that moves freight over-the-road (Green, 2014). With the average age of a commercial truck driver being 55, the industry is facing the challenge of high demand/high growth with a shrinking employment pool. The transportation industry may have to consider recruitment strategies to attract qualified applicants by improving the image of commercial truck driving and increasing its compensation package.
The American Trucking Association’s (ATA) Chief Economist, Bob Costello, stated in ATA’s October 22, 2013 news release (Impacts of Driver Shortage) that “fleets in all segments of trucking have told us they are having a more difficult time finding qualified drivers than they did a year ago. As a result, more fleets are considering hiring drivers straight out of driver training programs and nearly three-quarters of those we surveyed plan to increase pay or have already done so.” Many transportation carriers are also shortening routes by splitting drive lines to middle ranges while other carriers are concentrating on local and short haul routes to increase interest in the trucking industry and improve their employment pools by attracting the next generation of drivers.
Excellent prospects for viable employment with lucrative career opportunities exist in the burgeoning transportation industry. Laura Raines (2013) cites in her article, Demand is High for Commercial Truck Drivers, that salaries in the transportation industry “climb faster than other careers” and “by the third year [in the industry] truck drivers should be making well into the mid-$50,000s.” According to Edward Green’s article for Trucker’s Report (2014), Trucking Industry Statistics: Outlook and Trends for Employment, the average salaries for a commercial truck driver ranges from $30,000 to $80,000 per year depending on drive lines, type of commercial driver license, and freight carried. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes occupational outlooks on a biennial basis, cited in their 2014 report that commercial truck drivers for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers earn an annual average salary of $40,940 with an hourly wage of $19.68.
As commercial drivers gain in experience, they also have the opportunity to expand their expertise by securing a license to carry hazardous materials (HAZMAT) and other specialized licenses that provide significant salary increases. Local and short haul routes also provide opportunities for secure employment. Among the leaders in the transportation industry are United Parcel Service (UPS), FED-EX, J.B. Hunt, YRC Worldwide, Con-Way, Swift Transportation, Schneider National, Landstar System, Old Dominion Freight Line, and Werner Enterprises (Journal of Commerce, 2012).
So if you are seeking employment opportunities in a high growth industry, look toward commercial truck driving for high return on the cost of training and secure employment for the future.
American Truck Association. (2013) “Impacts of Driver Shortage Detailed by ATA Chief Economist.” [News Release: Oct. 22, 2013]
http://www.truckline.com/article.aspx?uid=0c98b069-cb00-457d-84b4-75a3c0ebaf3b (accessed 05/09/2014)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor Statistics. (modified 04/01/2014). Occupational Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and http://www.thetruckersreport.com/trucking-industry-statistics-outlook-and-trends-for-employment/Wages: 53-3032 Heavy and Tractor Trailer Drivers. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm#ind (accessed 05/09/2014)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor Statistics. (2010). “High Growth Industry Profile – Transportation.” http://www.doleta.gov/brg/indprof/transportation_profile.cfm (accessed 05/09/2014)
Green, Edward. (2014). “Trucking Industry Statistics: Outlook and Trends for Employment” in The Truckers Report.
Journal of Commerce. (2013). “Top 50 Trucking Companies.” [online joc.com] http://www.joc.com/special-topics/top-50-trucking-companies (accessed 05/09/2014)
Nikolas, Daniel. (Modified 03/12/2014). “About the Trucking Industry.” [ eHow]. http://www.ehow.com/about_7522734_trucking-industry.html
Raines, Laura. (2013) “Demand is High for Commercial Truck Drivers” in The Atlantic Journal-Constitution [ajc.com]
http://www.ajc.com/news/business/demand-high-commercial-truck-drivers/nXDb2/ (accessed 05/12/2014)
Ro, Sam. (2013). “The Staggering Statistics Behind America’s Trucking Industry,” Business Insider. [Trucking Industry Infographic] http://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-industry-infographic-2013-4 (accessed 05/09/2014)