There are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to estimates by the American Trucking Association. The total number of people employed in the industry, including those in positions that do not entail driving, exceeds 8.7 million. About one of every 15 workers in the country is employed in the trucking business, according to the ATA. These figures indicate that trucking is an exceptionally stable industry that is likely to continue generating jobs in the coming years.
Professional truck drivers combine to drive substantially more than 400 billion miles on the road each year, according to ATA estimates. The trucking industry hauls more than 10 billion tons of freight annually, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the total freight tonnage transported in the nation. By contrast, rail transportation accounts for about 13 percent of the nation’s freight tonnage.
The outlook for jobs among truck drivers in the U.S. is bright. An annual shortage exists in the field amounting to about 20,000 truck driving positions, according to the ATA. By 2014, the figure is expected to grow to reach a shortage of about 111,000 truck drivers. By 2016, companies in the U.S. are expected to be creating as many as 115,000 job openings for truck drivers annually. A basic economic principle is behind the ongoing shortage. The demand for new truck drivers is growing more quickly than the number of drivers who are entering the profession.
Job growth among heavy truck drivers and tractor-trailer drivers is expected to grow by 21 percent by 2020 compared with 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Department of Labor projects that truck drivers will account for 43 percent of the growth in logistics jobs in coming years.