Trucking jobs reach an all-time high

August-September 2019

Tyson Fisher


Trucking employment is at an all-time high, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the June 6 report, there were 711,000 trucking businesses in 2016, exceeding pre-recession highs.

More specifically, there were more than 124,000 employer trucking businesses and more than 587,000 nonemployer/self-employed trucking businesses. In 2007, self-employed trucking businesses hit nearly 543,000 before the recession sent that number downward before going back up in 2010. The recession low for self-employed trucking was 483,531 businesses in 2009.

Owner-operators and small fleets dominate the industry

Of the more than 2 million people who work in the truck transportation industry, approximately 1.5 million work for one of the 124,000 employer businesses, with nearly 600,000 self-employed.

Self-employed trucking employees make up nearly 30% of the industry. Another 32% work for employer businesses with fewer than 50 employees. This means that more than half of the industry is either self-employed or work for smaller carriers.

Self-employed truckers make up the overwhelming majority of the 711,000 total trucking businesses, more than 80% of the industry. From there, businesses with nine or fewer employees make up another 14%. Businesses with 500 or more employees account for only a small fraction of 1% of the industry.

Although trucking jobs include a wide range of categories, more than half of all trucking businesses are classified as long-distance. Among the long-distance businesses, 88% are self-employed.

Truckers working full-time, throughout the year earn an average of $43,252 a year. Although lower than the median income of all workers at $47,016, it is still more than most other blue-collar jobs.

However, those earnings are possibly less on a per-hour basis. Approximately half of truck drivers work longer hours than the standard 40 hours a week. Only a quarter of workers across all industries work more than 40 hours a week. LL

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.