Job Opportunities and Growth Potential for Commercial Truck Drivers

The US Department of Labor has stated that one in six truck drivers in America is over 55 years. The growing demand for truck drivers in 2021 and beyond has made the transportation industry work toward developing a pool of younger drivers who can replace the older population of commercial truck drivers.

Truckers are responsible for transporting nearly 70% of the goods in America. They play a vital role in keeping trade and commerce going. Job prospects and growth opportunities for truckers are directly linked to the growth of trade in America. The nation continues to consume goods and services. If goods cannot be transported in time, there’s a considerable cost to be paid by all involved. Freight costs will increase, spoilage occurs, and the consumer ends up paying more.

The trucking industry has been facing a shortage of drivers. The restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic further affected the growth. As the restrictions get lifted and the industry returns to normal, there will be a surge in demand for truck drivers.

Post-COVID, trucking companies are offering higher pay to attract new drivers with more payable hours that includes loading/unloading, waiting hours; truck driving is gaining respectability as an occupation, safety standards have improved, and new training policies have been instituted.

Now is a good time for you to acquire a Commercial Driver’s License, upgrade your driving skills, and earn a good living as a commercial truck driver. Truckers with a clean driving record and proper training are much sought after. Companies are having difficulty hiring and keeping good long-distance truck drivers because of the demanding lifestyle and the days away from home that the drivers spend.

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CDL training can be accomplished in as few as four weeks, and you could be on a new career immediately.

At present, there are close to 2 million tractor-trailer drivers in America. There is a constant churn as drivers retire or change careers. There are opportunities in this field, more so these days because of the spurt in commerce in the post-COVID scenario.

The big employers are in the North East, with Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania leading the way regarding jobs occupied and median salaries.

Commercial truck drivers with the motion picture and video industries earn higher salaries of around $66,000. Drivers employed by the power generation, transmission, and distribution sectors earn only slightly less. So, if you seek growth within the commercial truck driving setup, you may want to gain valuable experience in these lines.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, till 2030, the industry is expected to hire around 231,000 new drivers each year at a projected growth rate of 6%, which is on par with the growth forecast for other industries. These estimates are lower than the numbers put forward by ATA.

Growth Potential for Truckers in America

The American Trucking Association (ATA) mentions $73,000 as the median annual income of an experienced truck driver employed in a private fleet. This means that there is good scope for growth in this line of work.

The freight volume moved in America is expected to grow by more than 2% by 2028. Keeping these things in mind, it is safe to conclude that jobs for truckers are always going to be there. The trucking industry is going to display a northward growth trajectory.

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Another aspect that helps growth prospects within this sector is that trucking jobs are largely immune to disturbances that affect other industries. Material needs to be moved, and the work has to be done in America. It cannot be outsourced to India or China. And robots cannot, as yet, be trusted to drive these heavy vehicles.

Apart from an excellent salary that compensates for their skills, responsibilities, and odd working hours, commercial truck drivers also get bonuses for meeting performance targets, sign-on bonuses, reimbursements for CDL training, 401(K) investments with matching carriers, detailed healthcare coverage, and paid holidays.

Drivers who obtain a Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) license can expect to earn more. Permission to drive in military areas is another consideration that trucking company owners consider.

The growth prospects for the trucking industry can be gauged from the fact that “trucker driver” is the most commonly quoted job in 29 states in America, including California and Texas. Blue-collar jobs in America may be on the decline because of automation or being shifted offshore, but the trucking industry is safe from these two factors.

The trucking industry drives the economy, and economic growth boosts trucking. Consumption trends are moving up. Online shopping is on the rise. In-store footfalls are decreasing. All of these point to a growth in this sector and an allied growth up the ladder for truckers. Junior truckers can move up the ranks. Senior truckers can become trainers. And with experience, you can set up your owner-driver operation. The trucking business is among the most popular small businesses for a broad cross-section of the American demography. Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks are in this business. Veterans and women are setting up trucking businesses and have a fleet of anything between three to six trucks. Nine out of ten trucking companies are small businesses, and they embody the spirit of entrepreneurship that drives the nation’s economy.

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Joel Curtis

Joel Curtis from Texas is a 30-year veteran in the trucking industry. He's driven refrigerated, flatbed, tankers, intermodals and more. You can find him as the primary author at America's Driving Force and at industry events.

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