Keep on trucking: American truckers at an all-time high - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Keep on trucking: American truckers at an all-time high

Long haul trucker Naceur Chamakh, left, talks with fellow trucker David Ramos in the parking lot of the Flying J Travel Plaza on Thursday, March 14, in Casper. Dozens of trucks were forced to park around Casper after all major roads around Casper and much of central Wyoming were closed by a winter storm. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — America has never seen more truckers at work in history.

More than 3.5 million people work as truckers, according to the United States Census Bureau.

More than 90% of those drivers are male, their June 6 report states.

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U.S. Census Bureau

The latest data comes from 2016, and shows that there were 711,000 trucking businesses “surpassing the pre-recession high.”

That includes employer and self-employed trucking businesses.

“Driving large tractor-trailers or delivery trucks is one of the largest occupations in the United States,” the Census Bureau said.

U.S. Census Bureau

“Between 2012 and 2016, the number of trucking businesses grew 15.9%, outpacing total growth across all industries (8.0 percent). This translates into an increase of 200,000 workers in the trucking industry during that time period. About four in 10 new workers are self-employed.”

Truckers tend to be older than those in other professions, with a median age of 46 as “compared with 41 for all workers.”

Their average income is $43,252. That is lower than the $47,016 that all full-time workers average. The Census Bureau added that almost half of truckers work some overtime beyond a normal 40-hour work week.

In the third quarter of 2018, trucking businesses saw a revenue of $77 billion, with fourth quarter revenues of $75 billion.

U.S. Census Bureau

Truckers are less likely to have health insurance than the overall workforce, but are also less likely to experience unemployment.

The Census Bureau says that 15% of truckers are uninsured as compared with 10% overall. They have an unemployment rate of 4.1% compared with 5.3% for all workers.

U.S. Census Bureau

Veterans and those with disabilities trend higher in the trucking industry.

“At least one in 10 truckers are veterans, double the rate of workers in general,” the Census Bureau said. “Even looking at just the older workforce, truckers are more likely than other workers age 55 and older to have a disability.”

While most truckers are male, there is an upward trend among younger truckers to be female or Hispanic.

U.S. Census Bureau

“Among younger truckers under age 35, more of them are women, Hispanic and more educated than their older counterparts age 55 and older,” the Census Bureau added. “They are more likely to be high school graduates and have some college education.”

U.S. Census Bureau

Most truckers live in urban areas, with the data showing that less than 20% come from rural areas.

Long-distance trucking tends to pay better.

“Average payroll per employee in the long-distance industry is higher than for local or specialized trucking businesses ($48,920 versus $42,203 and $46,084, respectively),” the Census Bureau said.

Data about the ownership of trucking businesses was also provided:

Ownership of these trucking businesses mirrors the characteristics of the drivers themselves. About 75% of all businesses are white-owned, accounting for 66% of all trucking business revenue.

The average receipts for White-owned trucking firms is about double that of black-owned or Asian-owned firms.

Women-owned trucking firms are less common (less than 10%) but they have an average revenue higher than those owned by men — an average of about $460,000 per firm versus about $349,000.

U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau

While most truckers work for a company, almost 29% are self-employed.

“Over 2 million people work in the truck transportation industry, which not only employs truck drivers but also mechanics, managers, dispatchers and workers in other occupations,” the Census Bureau said.

“Nearly 1.5 million people work for the 124,320 employer businesses in this industry, and another 587,000 are self-employed, or ‘nonemployers.'”

U.S. Census Bureau