Truck Driver Jobs Increase Across America - Over 900,000 Openings
As of September 2016, the trucking industry employed around 1.5 million people, and 70 percent of cargo in the US is moved by trucks, with total freight tonnage predicted to grow 35% over the next ten years.— Singularity Hub, 10/20/2016
Increasing Need for Freight Tranportation
Looking at employment trends and job openings every day, I have noticed an increase in driving jobs posted, especially since 2012. Many of these positions are for CDL licensed truck drivers and owner-operators of large trucks.
This increase in jobs indicates an increase in goods production and transport in the United States.
This expansion includes more goods like agricultural products and livestock, scrap metal, trash, oil and water shipments in the Oil & Gas Industry, computer parts, auto parts (very big in Ohio), and numerous other items. Trucking routes cover all parts of the United States in all terrain, even along the winter ice roads in the far northwestern states that extend into Canada.
Largest Trucking Companies in America
1 UPS Inc.: Ranked Number One since at least 2012
2 FedEx Corp.
3 XPO Logistics
4 J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
5 YRC Worldwide
6 Swift Transportation
8 Hub Group
9 Landstar System
10 TransForce Inc.
11 Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.
12 ArcBest Corp.
13 Ryder Supply Chain Solutions
14 Estes Express Lines
15 Werner Enterprises Inc.
16 Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc.
17 UniGroup Inc.
18 Prime Inc.
19 U.S. Xpress Enterprises
20 Sirva Inc.
Source: Transport Topics/TTNews, October 2016.
Goods That Need More Trucks: Aerospace and Oil Products
Aerospace and aeronautical parts, including rocketry, are also transported in increasing numbers from states that include California, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and Eastern Seaboard States. These parts, along with entire aircraft, are also going to our partner nations in projects important to space exploration and national defense.
For instance, NASA selected space taxi manufacturers in 2014 as well as a new craft to replace the US Space Shuttle in the Orion vehicle that can carry five to seven people. At the same time, the US partnered with Japan to create a mutual air force with which to patrol near-earth and interstellar skies.
NASA also partners with the Canadian space agency and the best human example of that is Astronaut Chris Hadfield's career. America's private and public space programs are working with other countries and have been doing so for many years. This creates a lot of parts to be shipped by truck and by aircraft.
Considering the blockades on certain oil pipeline construction in the USA, the Trucking Industry will likely continue to increase with the expanding need to transport oil and oil-containing tar sands from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, namely Galveston and other port cities that process petroleum.
Alberta tar sands need toxic, corrosive chemicals to make the material flow through metal pipelines, endangering the water supply of the lands it passes through when the pipes deteriorate, which is a certainty. Cleaning and replacing tanker truck tanks is less labor intensive and time consuming than is repairing the transport pipelines. Trucks are already in use to transport oil and increasing the number of trucks and hauls is not as difficult as building a new pipeline and then repairing it often.
The local-goods use movement (locavore) in food products has not diminished the need for transportation of goods overall in our country, because the transport of other goods has increased.
American Truck Stops
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Advertised Truck Driving Jobs
As of January 2015 over 943,000 job openings for truck drivers were posted across the United States. By 2025, this number may reach the low seven figures.
Major Hiring Companies:
- Swift Transportation Co.
- Swift Transportation (another division)
- US Xpress
- CRST Malone
- Knight Refrigerated Trucking
- Melton Truck Lines, Inc.
- Swift Transportation (third division)
- CRST Specialized Transportation
- USA Truck
- Roehl Transport
- Western Express
Most of the job listings I am seeing begin at $50,000 annually, even for first-year drivers.
Additional related jobs include truck mechanic, truck dispatcher, and owner-operator.
Long-haul truck drivers need to have a Class A CDL license, which is a Commercial Driver's License and many shorter haul drivers need one as well.
The best way to obtain the license is to take a short training class that awards the license through local motor vehicle licensing agencies at the end of the course. The companies that offer these classes also often maintain a job placement service for graduates. One company in Central Ohio even helped to provide housing for the two-three weeks of their course. See the Truck Driving School Guide for suggestions.
These training opportunities that you might not hear about through the usual means, so when you see an ad in the employment newspapers you can find in boxes on street corners and in local stores, call the numbers in the ads and ask about their training and amenities. Also, check out trucking/freight companies and training schools on line.
Drivers can obtain a number of additional certifications for driving different types of vehicles and these certifications are called endorsements. Ask your training instructor or the local department of motor vehicles about them.
- Free CDL Practice Test
Our free CDL practice test will give you a great general idea of what to expect on your general knowledge segment of your CDL test.
For Owner Operators: Load Boards Advertise Work
- Internet Truckstop® Load Board - Find Freight Fast!
- Truck Loads - DAT
Find loads and trucks fast with full access to the trusted DAT Network. Freight matching designed for shippers, brokers and carriers.
Job Tenure and Career
Some people joined the armed forces when jobs are scare, but other people become truck drivers. Driving is a good choice, since incomes in that industry are increasing.
Truck driving declined in the 1980s and 1990s after several nationwide incidents in which drivers were injured by vandals who through concrete blocks off bridges and into their windshields. Insurance costs increased.
Metal mesh fencing was installed along bridges that crossed highways in which truckers delivered their goods, adding additional costs. The industry fluctuated during the next decade and numbers of driving jobs began to increase in the mid-2000s. In the mid-2010s, truck driving has surpassed the former Number One High Demand Job, which as Physical Therapist.
Truck driving can be demanding and tiring work, but fewer back injuries from inadequate driver's seats are seen today since cushioned and ergonomically designed seating is more often provided. Drivers of trucks and buses like Greyhound must keep logs of hours and miles on the road to avoid driving too many hours without rest and these logs are checked periodically. Rest breaks are important.
Spending a week at a time away from home on long-haul routes can place inordinate demands on family life as well.
For those that can maintain the pace of truck driving, it is lucrative and long-term employment. Drivers sometimes purchase trucks to form a fleet and start their own successful trucking companies.
Trucks In HistoryClick thumbnail to view full-size
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2014 Patty Inglish MS