10 Trucking Industry Statistics and Facts US – 2024 Update
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
The trucking industry is a massive part of the economy in the United States, representing one of its largest revenue streams and moving 11 billion tons of goods—almost 70% of all goods—around the country.
The industry not only generates billions in revenue but employs millions of drivers too. It is as vital to the US economy today as it ever was. The industry is changing, though, and currently faces driver shortages as well as the threat of self-driving trucks in the coming decades.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important US trucking industry statistics.
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The 10 Trucking Industry Statistics
- The US trucking industry is worth almost $800 billion.
- The trucking industry is responsible for moving 70% of all goods in the US.
- Over 13% of all registered vehicles in the US are commercial trucks.
- Trucks moved over 11 billion tons of freight in 2019.
- 6% of all full-time jobs in the US are in the trucking industry.
- There are over 8 million people employed by the trucking industry.
- Walmart alone employs more than 8,000 truckers.
- Truck drivers earn more than most average Americans.
- An average truck driver drives more than 100,000 miles per year.
- There is a significant shortage of drivers in the trucking industry.
US Trucking Industry in Numbers
1. The US trucking industry is worth almost $800 billion.
In 2020, the trucking industry in the US generated $737.3 billion, down from 2019 when it generated $791.7 billion, the decline likely due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, this number is higher than the entire GDP of many countries!
2. The trucking industry is responsible for moving 70% of all goods in the US.
In 2019, the trucking industry was responsible for moving 70% of all goods within the US, with trucking revenues accounting for 80% of the nation’s freight bill. Trucks also moved 67.7% of surface freight between the U.S. and Canada, plus 83.1% of cross-border trade with Mexico in the same year!
3. Trucks moved over 11 billion tons of freight in 2019.
According to the latest edition of American Trucking Associations’ annual data compendium—ATA American Trucking Trends 2020—the trucking industry moved an incredible 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019. While this number dipped during the pandemic, the industry is swiftly picking up again and set to break new transportation records in the coming years.
4. Over 14% of all registered vehicles in the US are commercial trucks.
In 2019, 37.9 million trucks were registered and used for business purposes excluding government and farms, and commercial trucks made up 14.4% of all registered vehicles in the US in 2019. Registered trucks traveled 300.05 billion miles in 2019, burning 45.9 billion gallons of fuel!
US Trucking Industry Jobs
5. 6% of all full-time jobs in the US are in the trucking industry.
In 2020, there were more than 124 million full-time employees in the United States, with 7.65 million of those employed in the trucking industry, not including self-employed workers. This accounts for over 6% of all full-time jobs in the US.
6. There are almost 8 million people employed by the US trucking industry.
There were over 3 million truck drivers employed in the trucking industry in the US in 2020, but almost 8 million people were employed within the industry as a whole. This includes not only drivers, but mechanics, managers, dispatchers, and logistic workers, but a host of other occupations too. For comparison, the next largest freight hauling industry—railroads—employs just over 1 million people in any related capacity.
7. Walmart alone employs more than 8,000 truckers.
One of the biggest chain stores in the United States—Walmart—has moved away from third-party transportation contracts and has begun employing its own trucking workforce. The company already employs over 8,000 truck drivers who travel more than 700 million miles to over 4,700 Walmart stores, but Walmart is looking to increase these numbers. The company is now offering a referral bonus, driver pay raise, per-mile increase, and 21 days of vacation to attract around 900 new employees in the coming year.
Working as a Truck Driver
8. Truck drivers earn more than most average Americans.
Truck driving wages have been steadily increasing in the US in recent years and are still fairly high above the national average. The average base salary for a trucker in the US is $77,321 per year, compared with an average salary of roughly $51,000 for the rest of the US. This also depends on experience, route type, and company the driver works for, and a trucking salary can jump to $130,000 per year for experienced drivers.
9. An average truck driver drives more than 100,000 miles per year.
The average trucker drives over 100,000 miles per year, which works out to almost 40 trips across the United States! In general, truck drivers are expected to drive between 280 and 430 miles per day, or up to 3,000 miles per week. Full-time truck drivers can expect to spend up to 300 days a year on the road, almost 20 hours per day alone, and driving up to 70 hours per week.
10. There is a significant shortage of drivers in the trucking industry.
(American Trucking Association)
One of the biggest problems in the trucking industry today is a shortage of drivers. In 2018, the trucking industry was short over 60,000 drivers, a number that could rise to 160,000 by 2028 if current trends continue. To combat this shortage, the trucking industry will need to hire an average of 110,000 drivers per year, and 54% of new hires will be required simply to replace retired drivers.
Frequently Asked Questions About the US Trucking Industry
1. Is there a high demand for truck drivers?
Yes! There is currently a shortage of drivers, and the demand for quality, reliable drivers is always high. If you can prove yourself as not only a competent but trustworthy and reliable trucker, you will never be short of employment options. (American Trucking Association)
2. Is trucking a demanding job?
Trucking is most certainly not an easy job and requires a ton of dedication. The physical aspect of trucking is not the problem for most drivers, but you’ll be away from home a lot, on the road 300 days of the year, and spend long hours behind the wheel of a massive vehicle with erratic sleep patterns. This can quickly wear a lot of people out and is certainly not the job for everyone. (smart-trucking.com)
3. Which states have the most truck driving jobs?
Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Florida have the most employment of truck driving jobs, but of course, these states have very high population densities too. North Dakota is the best state for truckers based on average salary, with Alaska and Nevada coming in second and third respectively. (fcc-inc.com)
4. How long does it take to become a qualified truck driver?
Becoming a qualified truck driver can take a few weeks to a few months or even a year depending on your qualification. If you’re attending full-time training, you can usually get your commercial driver’s license (CDL) within an average of 7 weeks. Training typically costs anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the course and training length. (indeed.com)
5. What are the pros and cons of being a truck driver?
The trucking industry in the United States is a vital one and is certainly here to stay. That said, drivers are in short supply, as being a truck driver is a demanding and difficult job, putting some strain on the industry as a whole. However, companies like Walmart are changing the industry by offering new truck drivers unique benefits and higher wages, hoping to attract the next generation of drivers the industry so desperately needs.
Featured Image Credit: s_oleg, Shutterstock