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 annual employment in transportation occupations and selected characteristics. For monthly employment by industry see the Monthly Employment in the Transportation and Warehousing Sector page.
2022 Year-in-Review
  • In 2022, the largest number (2.0 million) of people worked as heavy-duty truck drivers. This includes drivers working within the transportation and warehousing sector and in non-transportation sectors, e.g., truck drivers employed by the wholesale and retail trade industry.
  • Annual median wages vary widely, from $211,790 for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers (highest wage) to $30,380 for ambulance drivers and attendants (lowest wage) in 2022. The 5 lowest-wage transportation-related occupations collectively employed about 600,000 workers, while the 5 highest-wage occupations employed about 400,000 workers in 2022. 
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts heavy and light-duty truck drivers will remain the largest transportation-related occupation in 2032 (projected to employ about 3.4 million workers). BLS projects taxi drivers and flight attendants will grow at the fastest rate (by 28.5 percent and 20.8 percent, respectively); while they forecast parking enforcement workers and electronic equipment installers and repairers for motor vehicles workers to decline at the fastest rate (by 37.2 percent and 22.8 percent, respectively).
  • The average compensation for transportation-related occupations is $9.47 per hour less than the average for all occupations as of the first quarter of 2023 - the largest difference on record (with records beginning quarter 1 of 2004). 
  • In 2022, the percentage of part-time workers in transportation and material moving occupations, at 24.1 percent, exceeded all occupations for the third year in a row. Up until 2020, the percentage of part-time workers in transportation and material moving occupations was less than all occupations (based on historical data from 2003). Despite exceeding the percentage for all occupations in 2022, the percentage of part-time workers remained below the historic high of 27.2 percent reached in 2009 during the 2007 to 2009 recession.

Employment and Wages of Transportation Related Occupations | Employment Projections | Hourly Compensation | Part-time Employment
Occupational employment data reveals the full range of transportation jobs by capturing workers employed in transportation-related occupations outside of the transportation sector. Many workers hold transportation-related occupations but work in non-transportation sectors, for example truck drivers employed by the wholesale and retail trade sector.
Because some occupations are more seasonal, analysts use annual wage data instead of the average hourly compensation to compare industry employment categories. Annual wages vary widely with the largest number of workers in the lowest paying occupations and the smallest number in the highest paying.

Employment Projections for Transportation Occupations
BLS forecasts national-level employment for 10 years ahead of the base year. To the extent possible, BLS accounts for new technologies and other factors expected to affect future employment levels. For more information about the employment projections, see the BLS employment projection methods.
Some industries were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have lower base-year values. These industries are expected to experience cyclical recoveries in the early part of the 2021–31 decade as industry output and employment normalize and return to their long-term trends. As a result, these industries have higher projected employment growth. For more information on the effects of COVID-19 on employment levels, see Dubina, K., et. al. "Projections overview and highlights, 2021–31", Monthly Labor Review, Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2022, available at: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2022/article/projections-overview-and-highlights-2021-31.htm as of July 2023.

Compensation includes wages and benefits. Workers holding a transportation or material moving occupation earn less than workers holding any occupation.

Not all workers in transportation work full-time. The percentage of workers employed part-time in transportation and material moving occupations is slightly lower than the percentage of workers employed part-time in all occupations. Workers holding part-time positions tends to rise during periods of economic decline when the number of full-time opportunities tends to decline.

<<Back                                            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.