23+ Trucking Industry Statistics [2023]: Surprising Facts On American Trucking

By Abby McCain
Mar. 20, 2023
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Research Summary. The trucking industry is vital to the U.S.’s economy, as just about every necessity and convenience depend on this industry in some form or another. Here are some statistics about the truck driving industry:

  • Trucks move about 72.5% of America’s freight by weight.

  • The trucking industry earned $875.5 billion in revenue in 2021.

  • There are about 3.5 million employed truck drivers in the U.S. as of 2021.

  • There are 1,102,799 for-hire trucking carriers in the U.S.

  • U.S. trucks moved 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021.

  • There are 4.06 million semi-trucks operating in the U.S. as of 2021.

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:

Demographics | Employment | Pay | Trends and Projections

Trucks move 72.5% of America's freight by weight

General U.S. Trucking Industry Statistics

  • There are just over 2 million trucking carriers in the U.S.

    This number is accurate as of February 2021 and accounts for 1,102,799 for-hire carriers and 718,594 private carriers.

  • 91.5% of trucking carriers in the U.S. operate with six or fewer trucks.

    In addition, 97.4% operate with fewer than 20 trucks, showing that the vast majority of U.S. trucking carriers aren’t owned by large companies.

  • Grocery stores would go out of stock in just three days if trucks stopped driving.

    Not only that, but medical supplies, ATM cash, and gas would be in short supply as well. Garbage would pile up, other goods such as clothing would go undelivered, and even water treatment plants wouldn’t have the chemicals they need to make water potable.

U.S. Trucking Industry Statistics by Trucker Demographics

  • 14% of truck drivers are female.

    In comparison, 17% of those interested in becoming truck drivers are females. These two percentages aren’t far off from each other, which usually means that there isn’t much (although there is some) gender bias as far as getting a truck driving job goes.

  • The majority of truck drivers are white.

    The ethnic and racial demographic breakdown of the U.S. truck driving workforce is as follows:

    Demographics of Truck Drivers

    Race or Ethnicity Percentage
    White 72%
    Black or African American 12%
    Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish 8%
    Other 5%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 1%
    South Asian 1%
    East Asian 1%

  • The majority of truckers are between 45 and 54 years of age.

    Here is the breakdown of U.S. truck drivers’ ages:

    Truck Drivers By Age

    Age Range Percentage
    16-24 8%
    25-34 17%
    35-44 21%
    45-54 26%
    55-64 21%
    65+ 7%

U.S. Trucking Industry Statistics by Employment

  • There are 2,094,700 trucking industry jobs in the U.S. as of 2021.

    This includes drivers, mechanics, supervisors, laborers, and everyone else needed to make the industry run.

  • There are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. as of 2021.

    This makes up 61.4% of those employed by the truck industry as a whole.

  • 91% of truck drivers work full-time.

    This means that almost 10% of professional truck drivers only work part-time.

U.S. Trucking Industry Statistics by Pay

  • 34% of freight trucking costs go toward paying drivers’ wages.

  • Truck drivers earn a median salary of $47,130 per year.

  • The average hourly wage for truck drivers in the U.S. is $22.66.

  • U.S. trucks carried 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021, the largest amount in six years.

    However, this number dropped down in 2020 with 10.23 billion tons of freight moved by trucks that year. This number was lower than usual due to the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The 2021-2031 job growth rate for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is expected to be 4%.

    This is on pace with all other U.S. occupations, but the majority of the growth will be driven by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It’s estimated that there will be about 259,900 truck driver job openings each year from 2020 to 2030.

  • The U.S. trucking industry saw $875.5 billion in revenue in 2021, up from $732.3 billion in 2020.

    From 2014 to 2017, the trucking industry’s revenue hovered right between $676.2 and $726.4 billion and grew to $796.7 billion in 2018. 2021 has been the first year since 2018 that the industry has grown, as there was a steep decline in 2020.

Trucking Industry Statistics FAQ

  1. How big is the U.S. trucking industry?

    The U.S. trucking industry is big enough to earn $875.5 billion in revenue in 2021. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has passed for the most part, the industry is finally up in revenue from $791.7 billion in 2019.

    The trucking industry has 1.47 million workers, whether those are drivers, mechanics, supervisors, or anyone else who contributes to helping the industry run. In addition, it carried 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019.

  2. Is the trucking industry growing?

    Yes, the trucking industry is growing. After the recession in 2020 that was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has been recovering and growing.

    From 2021 to 2031, truck drivers are expected to see a job growth rate of 4%, which is on par with U.S. occupations as a whole and does account for the recovery the industry experienced after a dip in 2020. This growth rate means there will be approximately 259,900 truck driving jobs available each year.

  3. How competitive is the trucking industry?

    The trucking industry is extremely competitive. Because there are low barriers to entering the industry, there is no shortage of trucking companies (approximately 1.9 million), and shippers have plenty of choices in who they hire, which creates a significant amount of competition.

    In addition, drivers are in high demand, which means that companies not only have to woo customers to choose them, but they also often have to woo drivers to help them fulfill their promises to their customers.

  4. Why do most trucking companies fail?

    Most trucking companies fail because their costs are higher than their income. Often trucking companies encounter high operational costs and struggle to pull in enough customers or high-paying freight to cover those costs, which causes them to fail.

    It’s also difficult to lower expenses without losing drivers, as 34% of trucking companies’ costs are their drivers’ paychecks. Drivers have a plethora of options for employment, which means you can’t easily reduce their pay in a significant way without losing them.

  5. Why is the trucking industry so fragmented?

    The trucking industry is so fragmented because there is a low cost of entry. Almost anyone can start their own trucking company, no matter how small, and since it’s vital for companies to get their logistics just right while keeping costs low, it’s difficult for one or two companies to fully take over the market.

    In addition, since truck drivers have the power to move from one company to another or to even start their own, drivers spur a significant amount of competition between trucking companies, and that variable isn’t going away anytime soon.

  6. What is the future of the trucking industry?

    The future of the trucking industry is slow and steady growth. The truck driver job growth rate is projected to be 6% from 2020 to 2030.

    While this is on par with the rest of the country’s occupational growth, it does include the recovery from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which means that its overall growth would have likely been slower under normal conditions.

    Because of high turnover rates, long hours, and backed-up loading and unloading locations, the truck driving industry will likely struggle to grow until national infrastructure, wages, and benefits are improved.


Just about every service and business in the U.S. relies on the trucking industry in some form or another. About 73% of the country’s freight (by weight) is shipped via truck, and if trucks stopped driving, it would only take three days for grocery stores to be out of stock of most, if not all, of their goods.

In 2020, a year of lower shipping volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. trucks carried over 10 billion tons of freight, down from closer to 12 billion the year before. The 3.97 million trucks and 1.9 million trucking carriers operating in 2020 were responsible for this, 91.5% of which operate with six or fewer trucks.


  1. American Trucking Associations. “Economics and Industry Data.” Accessed on March 29, 2022.

  2. Statista. “Total Revenue of the Trucking Industry in the United States From 2014 to 2020.” Accessed on March 29, 2022.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment Projections: National Employment Matrix.” Accessed on March 29, 2022.

  4. Insider. “Grocery Stores Would Run Out of Food in Just 3 Days if Long-Haul Truckers Stopped Working.” Accessed on March 29, 2022.

  5. CareerExplorer. “Truck Driver Demographics in the United States.” Accessed on March 30, 2022.

  6. United States Census Bureau. “Characteristics of Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers.” Accessed on March 30, 2022.

  7. Statista. “Distribution of Costs in Freight Trucking in the United States From 2008 to 2020, by Type.” Accessed on March 30, 2022.

  8. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers.” Accessed on March 30, 2022.

  9. Statista. “Volume of Freight Moved by Trucks in the United States From 2014 to 2020.” Accessed on March 30, 2022.

  10. The White House. “Fact Sheet: The Biden-Harris Administration Trucking Action Plan to Strengthen America’s Trucking Workforce.” Accessed on March 30, 2022.

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Abby McCain

Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

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