Trucking Industry Continues To Add Jobs
Overview of the Trucking Industry
The economy's most important sector, the trucking sector, is in charge of moving commodities around the country. It is crucial to many different sectors' supply chains, including manufacturing, retail, and agriculture. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that the sector produces around $791 billion in revenue each year and employs more than 3.6 million truckers.
The scale of trucking firms varies; some have fleets of only one truck, while others have hundreds or even thousands of trucks. There are several safety and compliance requirements for both drivers and their cars in this highly regulated sector. Strict labor rules, such as those governing pay, overtime, and working conditions, must also be followed by trucking businesses.
Job Growth in the Trucking Industry
Despite its difficulties, the trucking sector continues to expand and add new employment possibilities. The trucking industry created 21,100 jobs in February, 1.5 million people are employed in the sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) With the industry generating an average of 26,000 jobs year between 2010 and 2019, this increase is consistent with patterns recorded over the previous ten years.
The ongoing growth of e-commerce and online shopping is only one of several reasons for boosting the transportation sector. The need for trucking services to deliver items from warehouses to customers' homes has dramatically expanded as more people choose to buy online. In addition, the growth of the manufacturing and construction industries has also contributed to the industry's expansion, as companies require trucks to transport materials and products to various locations.
The ageing workforce is another element fueling the expansion of the transportation sector. The typical truck driver's age in the US is 46, and many are getting close to retirement age, according to the ATA. Due to the voids created by those who are retiring, there is a critical need for fresh drivers to enter the field.
To address this need, trucking companies have increased their recruitment efforts, offering sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and other incentives to attract new drivers. In addition, some companies have implemented new technologies and practices to make the job more appealing to younger workers, such as providing more flexible schedules and utilizing advanced telematics systems to make routes more efficient.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Trucking Industry
Like many industries, the trucking industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the industry has been deemed essential and has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, it has encountered a number of difficulties, such as supply chain problems and increased demand for certain goods.
One of the biggest problems people are the industry has been the shortage of drivers. Many drivers have been unable or unwilling to work due to concerns about contracting COVID-19, while others have been forced to quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Deliveries of goods have been delayed as a result, and transportation prices have gone up as a result of businesses having to pay higher wages to recruit drivers.
Additionally, the epidemic has caused a shift in consumer demand, with many individuals choosing to shop online rather than in stores for necessities like food and home supplies. Due to this, the amount of commodities being transported by trucks has significantly increased, further taxing an already overworked sector.
Industry Outlook and Future Trends
A crucial sector is the transportation industry of the global economy, responsible for the transportation of goods across vast distances. The industry is highly competitive, with numerous small and large players operating in various niches. The trucking business made $791.7 billion in income in 2019, accounting for 80.4% of the country's freight expenditure, according to the American Trucking Association. Additionally, in 2019, the sector employed over 3.5 million drivers, making it one of the biggest employers in the country.
The emergence of e-commerce, which has boosted demand for transportation services, is one of several drivers driving the industry's expansion. The sector has also been able to lower costs and increase operating efficiency thanks to technological improvements. For example, GPS tracking and real-time communication systems have made it easier for companies to monitor their fleets and optimize routes. As a result, the trucking industry has become more reliable and efficient, which has led to increased demand for its services.
Looking forward, the trucking industry is expected to continue its growth trajectory. One area of potential growth is the adoption of electric trucks. Many businesses are looking into using electric cars to lower their carbon footprint due to worries about climate change and air pollution. Even while electric trucks are now more expensive than their diesel-powered counterparts, advances in battery technology and the growth of the infrastructure for charging are anticipated to make them more economically viable in the years to come.
The greater usage of automation is another development that will probably influence how the trucking business develops in the future. By lowering costs and enhancing safety, self-driving trucks have the potential to revolutionize the business. Self-driving trucks may become a reality within the next ten years, according to several industry experts and companies like Tesla, Waymo, and Uber that are significantly investing in the technology.
However, the adoption of self-driving trucks is likely to face several challenges, including regulatory hurdles and public acceptance. Concerns regarding the results are another issue of automation on employment in the industry, as self-driving trucks could potentially displace millions of drivers.
Despite these challenges, the outlook for the trucking industry remains positive. The industry is expected to continue to grow as demand for shipping services increases and new technologies, such as electric and self-driving trucks, become more widely adopted.
Policy and Regulatory Developments
Numerous laws and rules affect the trucking sector, which may have a big influence on how it operates and how profitable it is.
- Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations: In 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented changes to the HOS regulations, which govern the amount of time drivers can spend on the road. The changes included increased flexibility for drivers, allowing them to take breaks and extend their driving window under certain conditions. The changes were designed to provide greater flexibility for drivers while maintaining safety standards.
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate: In 2017, the FMCSA implemented a mandate requiring all commercial trucks to be equipped with ELDs to track drivers' hours of service. The mandate was designed to improve safety and prevent drivers from exceeding their hours of service limits. Drivers who believe the regulation is overly limiting have voiced some opposition, but the industry has mostly embraced it.
- Infrastructure Investment: The nation's infrastructure, particularly its ports, highways, and bridges, is crucial to the trucking business. Infrastructure spending has been seen as being necessary to sustain the industry's expansion in recent years. The Biden administration put out a $2 trillion infrastructure plan in 2021 that involves large expenditures on ports, bridges, and highways.