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.
- A total of 14.9 million persons (10.2 percent of the U.S. labor force) worked in the transportation and warehousing sector and related industries (e.g., automotive manufacturing) in 2021—up 3.9 percent from 2020. In 2021, total employment in transportation reached the highest level since 1990, surpassing the 2019 level.
- Employment in
both the transportation and warehousing sector and transportation-related
industries increased in 2021 but by less in the transportation-related industries
(1.2 percent increase vs. 8.0 percent increase).
Employment in the transportation and warehousing sector increased to 6.1
million workers in 2021, up by 8.0 percent from 2020.
- Within the transportation sector, seven out of eleven industries expanded their labor force from 2020 to 2021. Warehousing and storage saw the largest increase in employment (17.3 percent), followed by couriers and messengers transportation (11.9 percent). Taxi and limousine service employment saw the largest decline in employment (11.1 percent), followed by water transportation (6.0 percent).
- Among transportation and transportation-related industries, the trucking industry employed the largest number of transportation workers (1.1 million) in 2021. The interurban and rural bus transportation industry employed the fewest transportation workers (12,430) but employed the largest share of workers in transportation occupations as a percent of total employment at 85.5 percent; whereas only 74.5 percent of workers in the trucking industry held a transportation occupation.
- Almost one-quarter (23.9 percent) of all transportation workers in 2021 are over the age of 55— slightly more than the percent employed in all industries (23.6 percent). Nearly half (43.3 percent) of workers in transit are over the age of 55.