Transportation Economic Trends
Employment in Transportation:
Employment in Transportation Related Occupations
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 occupations and selected characteristics.
- Many workers hold transportation-related occupations but work in non-transportation sectors. In 2020, the largest number (1.8 million) of people worked as heavy-duty trucker drivers.
- Annual wages vary widely, from an average of over $100,000 for airline pilots and air traffic controllers to an average of $26,000 for automotive and watercraft service attendants in 2020. The 5 lowest-wage transportation-related occupations collectively employed 1.0 million workers, while the 5 highest-wage occupations employed about 300,000 workers in 2020.
- The average compensation for transportation-related occupations is $6.33 per hour less than the average for all occupations as of the fourth quarter of 2020.
- In 2020, the percentage of part-time workers in transportation and material moving occupations exceeded all occupations, at 21.1 percent, for the first time (based on historical data to 2003). The percentage of part-time workers in 2020, however, remained below the historic high of 27.2 percent reached in 2009 during the 2007 to 2009 recession.
Employment in Transportation-Related Occupations
Many workers hold transportation-related occupations but work in non-transportation sectors, for example truck drivers employed by the wholesale and retail trade sector.
Occupational employment data reveals the full range of transportation jobs by capturing workers employed in transportation-related occupations outside of the transportation sector.
Employment and Wages for Transportation Related Occupations
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.
Hourly Compensation for Transportation Related Occupations
Compensation includes wages and benefits. Workers holding a transportation or material moving occupation earn less than workers holding any occupation.
Part-time Employment in Transportation Related Occupations
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.