Transportation Economic Trends

Employment in Transportation:

Employment in Transportation and Related Industries

Employment in transportation and related industries and employment in transportation occupations are two ways to measure the Nation’s transportation workforce. This page highlights employment in transportation and related industries
2020 Year-in-Review
  • A total of 14.2 million persons (10.0 percent of the U.S. labor force) worked in the transportation and warehousing sector and related industries (e.g., automotive manufacturing) in 2020—down 4.1 percent from 2019.
  • Employment in the transportation and warehousing sector fell 1.9 percent in 2020 while employment in transportation-related industries decreased faster at 5.5 percent.
  • Within the transportation sector, only couriers and messengers and warehousing and storage expanded their labor force (15.7 percent and 9.4 percent respectively) from 2019 to 2020. Scenic and sightseeing transportation employment saw the largest decline in employment (34.4 percent), followed by taxi and limousine service (28.9 percent), and transit and ground passenger transportation (24.1 percent).
  • Roughly one-quarter of all transportation workers in 2020 are over the age of 55— slightly more than the percent employed in all industries. Nearly half (42.2 percent) of workers in transit are over the age of 55. 

Total Employment in Transportation and Related Industries | Employment in Transportation by Industry | Aging of the Transportation Workforce
Transportation industries refers to industries in the for-hire transportation and warehousing sector, such as air, rail, water, and truck transportation.
Transportation-related industries refers to related industries outside the sector, such as motor vehicle parts manufacturing and Federal and State Departments of Transportation. 
Transportation employment tends to rise in periods of economic expansion and decline during economic slowdowns when the demand for goods and services and hence transportation services falls. 

Employment in Transportation and Warehousing by Industry
Industries within the transportation and warehousing sector show different patterns of employment because they face different economic environments and require different mixes of job skills and occupations. Truck transportation, the largest subsector, employs the most workers. Some of these workers directly operate motor vehicles while others work in supportive roles.

Aging of Workers in the Transportation and Warehousing Sector
Many of those working in the transportation and warehousing sector are near retirement, potentially leaving the sector with a large number of vacancies.


Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at

Bureau of Transportation Statistics
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.