Employment in Transportation:

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 and 2021 Year-in-Review
  • Data on total transportation employment (employment in the transportation sector and related industries) are available through 2020. Data on employment in the transportation sector, which comprises almost one-third of total transportation employment, are available through 2021.
  • A total of 14.3 million persons (10.1 percent of the U.S. labor force) worked in the transportation and warehousing sector and related industries (e.g., automotive manufacturing) in 2020—down 3.7 percent from 2019.
  • Employment in both the transportation and warehousing sector and transportation-related industries decreased in 2020 but by less in the transportation sector (0.4 percent decline vs. 5.6 percent decline). 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 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. 

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. Warehousing and storage, the largest subsector, employs the most workers. Some of these workers directly operate motor vehicles while others work in supportive roles.

Total Employment in Transportation and Related Industries | Employment in Transportation by Industry | Total Employment in Transportation and Related Industries by Type of Occupation | Aging of the Transportation Workforce
In addition to the transportation and warehousing sector, many industries produce transportation goods (e.g., automobiles) and/or services (e.g., travel arrangements. These industries are known as transportation-related industries. Both the transportation and warehousing sector and transportation-related industries employ persons in both transportation (e.g., truck drivers) and non-transportation occupations (e.g., office clerks).
The industries employing the largest number of workers are not necessarily the industries employing the most transportation workers. For example, the trucking industry employs the largest number of transportation workers but the proportion of transportation workers to non-transportation workers is largest for interurban and rural bus transportation.
For transportation employment in non-transportation industries, see employment in transportation related occupations by industry.

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.



                                                                                         Next>>

U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.

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.