Rev up your engines and fasten your seatbelts because we’re about to take a joyride through the fascinating world of the trucking industry in 2023!
While big rigs and miles of open road may seem like the stuff of legends, the trucking industry is a dynamic and ever-evolving field that keeps our nation’s supply chain rolling and our economy humming.
But beyond the stats and numbers, did you know that furry co-pilots are becoming a trucker’s best friend, and women are making their mark on the road?
Get ready for a lighthearted journey through 49 trucking industry statistics revealing this incredible profession’s quirks, challenges, and victories.
Trucking Industry Statistics for 2023
The trucking industry proved its mettle during the COVID-19 pandemic, showcasing its vital role in keeping supply chains robust and supporting the economy.
As we roll into 2023, it’s evident that the trucking industry is ready to keep on truckin’ despite the challenges it faces. Let’s hit the road with some key statistics that give us the lowdown on market size, growth, and more.
U.S. Trucking Market Size
Back in 2022, the U.S. trucking market was cruising at $217.3 billion. Hold on to your hats, because it’s projected to rev up with a 3.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2027, according to Zippia.
Global Trucking Market Size
Zooming out, the global trucking market was a whopping $2.2 trillion in 2022. Buckle up, because it’s forecasted to keep the engines running, accelerating at a 5.4% CAGR through 2030, aiming to reach a colossal $3.4 trillion, courtesy of Research and Markets.
The Mighty Fleet
The U.S. boasts a formidable fleet of commercial trucks, numbering at least 12.5 million, according to Zippia.
Trucks aren’t just hauling cargo; they’re carrying the weight of the nation. As reported by the Transportation Statistics Annual Report, a staggering 73% of the total freight value and 65% of the total freight weight in the U.S. relies on these workhorses.
Trucking vs. Railroads
In the heavyweight bout of transportation, trucks outshone railroads, moving a whopping 8.5 times more freight volume in 2020, according to the Transportation Statistics Annual Report.
When it comes to what’s riding shotgun, mixed freight and motorized vehicles steal the show, followed closely by electronics and machinery, as per the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Top 10 Largest Trucking Companies in North America (2023)
Now, let’s take a pit stop and check out the top dogs in the North American trucking landscape for 2023, ranked by revenue:
- UPS: Leading the pack with a revenue of a whopping $100.3 billion.
- Fedex: Nipping at its heels with $93.5 billion.
- J.B. Hunt Transport Service: Hauling in $14.8 billion.
- XPO Logistics: Riding high with $7.7 billion.
- Landstar System: Matching that with $7.4 billion.
- Swift Logistics: Also claiming $7.4 billion.
- Schneider National: Cruising with $6.6 billion.
- YRC Worldwide: Carrying $6.5 billion.
- Old Dominion Freight Line: Bringing in $6.3 billion.
- ARCBEST: And last but not least, with $5.3 billion.
Top 5 Load Boards in 2023 (According to Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association)
And finally, the tools of the trade for truckers, the load boards they depend on:
- DAT (70%): Dominating the scene as the go-to choice for truckers.
- Truckstop.com (47%): A close second in the load board race.
- C.H. Robinson (30%): Hitching a ride in third place.
- J.B. Hunt (23%): Keeping pace in the competition.
- TQL (22%): Not too far behind, rounding out the top five.
Let’s hit the road to explore the numbers of employed truck drivers in the United States for 2023.
In 2022, the American Trucking Associations reported that a whopping 3.54 million truck drivers were in the driver’s seat, marking a 1.5% increase from the previous year. These road warriors play a pivotal role in keeping the nation’s goods moving.
A Dominant Occupation
Truck driving isn’t just any job; it’s the king of the road when it comes to male full-time workers.
As of 2020, an astonishing 4% of all male full-time employees across the nation found themselves behind the wheel, making it the most prevalent occupation for men by a considerable margin, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Let’s park for a moment and dive into the wallet-warming details of how much truck drivers make.
Just like the varied landscapes they traverse, trucker salaries can differ widely based on a range of factors, from the type of truck they drive to their experience and the level of risk they’re ready to take on. Here’s the lowdown on the dollars and cents:
The Median Pay
In 2021, the median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers clocked in at $48,310 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s a baseline figure that provides an overview of the industry’s earnings landscape.
The Experience Pay Scale
When it comes to experience, the road becomes more lucrative.
Truck drivers with less than a year under their belts can expect an average salary of $86,900, but those seasoned with over a decade of experience cruise into a higher pay range, with an average salary of $104,502, as reported by Indeed.
The Owner-Operator Advantage
In 2022, owner-operators under their own authorities hit the road with the highest average compensation per mile, raking in an impressive $2.94 per mile, marking a 6% increase from 2021, according to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Company Drivers’ Lane
On the flip side, company drivers operated at an average compensation rate of $0.72 per mile in 2022, according to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
And now, let’s check out how the different types of truck drivers stack up in terms of annual salaries for 2023:
|Type of Truck Driver||Average Yearly Salary|
|Over the Road (OTR)||$108,404|
|Ice Road Trucker||$62,422|
|Reefer Truck Driver||$61,946|
|Dump Truck Driver||$52,240|
Life in the trucking industry is a journey filled with unique challenges, with each day bringing new obstacles.
From the uphill battle of soaring insurance costs to the ongoing driver shortage and the constant search for safe truck parking, truckers confront a dynamic landscape.
Moreover, the outlook for the industry in 2023 isn’t exactly sunny, with a freight cycle that appears to be heading south, potentially bringing more trials and tribulations. Here’s a snapshot of the challenges that truckers are grappling with:
Load Hunt Frustration
A significant 21% of owner-operators report the struggle of finding loads to haul, according to FreightWaves. The constant search for cargo adds stress to the journey.
Diminishing Good Loads
For those relying on freight brokers or third parties, 61% express concerns about the diminishing number of good loads, as per the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association. It’s an uphill battle to secure quality assignments.
Shorter Routes and Fewer Loads
In the past year, 77% of owner-operators had to adapt by booking shorter routes due to rising costs, while 65% ended up booking fewer loads, as reported by Truckstop.
Fuel Price Peaks
In 2022, fuel prices took the top spot as the industry’s primary concern, followed closely by the driver shortage and the challenge of finding suitable truck parking.
Pressure to Work Longer Hours
A staggering 74% of U.S. truck drivers in 2022 expressed concerns about the increasing pressure to work longer hours, a direct consequence of the ongoing driver shortage, as highlighted by Truckstop.
Insurance and Regulation Roadblocks
In the same year, 68% of U.S. truck drivers faced difficulty in keeping up with insurance-related matters and the ever-evolving industry regulations, as reported by Truckstop. Navigating the maze of paperwork is no easy task.
Declining Freight Rates
According to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, a significant 70% of truck drivers believe that freight rates were on a downward slope in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Far From Peak Rates
In contrast, only a mere 6% of truckers believe that freight rates have reached their peak at present, as per the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association. It’s a tough terrain for rate optimization.
While 54% of truckers attempt to negotiate better rates, a disheartening 56% of them found that their negotiation efforts often resulted in losing the loads, adding a layer of complexity to their journey, based on the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association’s data.
Rate Setting Mystery
A puzzling statistic reveals that 67% of company drivers do not clearly understand how their carriers set their rates, creating a communication gap between drivers and carriers, as found by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Just like navigating a winding road, the costs of running a trucking business can take unexpected turns, influenced by factors such as fuel expenses, insurance premiums, and leasing costs. In 2021, the cost of trucking hit a milestone, reaching its highest point in 15 years, primarily driven by a significant 35.4% year-over-year surge in fuel costs. Here’s a closer look at the numbers:
A 15-Year High
The cost of trucking soared to a 15-year peak in 2021, reaching $1.855 per mile, representing a notable 12.7% increase from the previous year, as the American Transportation Research Institute reported. It’s a financial hurdle for trucking businesses to clear.
In 2022, the average operating cost per mile clocked in at $2.38, a substantial increase of 36% from 2020, according to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association. It’s a steep climb for businesses that keep their wheels turning.
The cost of a sitting truck can add up quickly. Centerline Drivers’ customers estimated the daily cost of keeping a truck parked, ranging from $500 to $1,500 per day, per truck, as per SHRM. Downtime comes with its price tag.
Marginal Cost Breakdown
When breaking down the cost structure, driver wages took the largest slice, accounting for 34% of marginal costs for carriers in 2021.
Fuel costs followed closely at 22%, with truck and trailer payments making up 15% of the pie, based on American Transportation Research Institute data. These are critical areas where expenses stack up.
Truck insurance premiums have been on the rise, with a significant 47% increase from 2010 to 2020. What’s more, the average premium cost per mile is highest for those who operate fleets of 1 to 20 trucks, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
Truckers covered 25,387 deadhead miles in 2022, representing miles driven with an unloaded (or empty) trailer, as revealed by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association. It’s mileage that doesn’t earn its keep.
Fueling the Journey
In 2021, owner-operators dug deep into their pockets, spending an average of $45,605 on fuel, which translates to about 48 cents per mile, according to ATBS. It’s a considerable chunk of their expenses.
Knowing the Costs Pays Off
A noteworthy finding is that owner-operators who knew their cost of operations earned $1.15 more per mile than those who didn’t have this information, as discovered by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Knowledge is power in the world of trucking finances.
The vast majority, 93%, of owner-operators with their own authorities are well aware of their cost of operations, which can help them make more informed financial decisions, according to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
In 2022, the average fee for freight factoring services stood at 3%, offering a financial lifeline for many in the industry, as shared by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
While the trucking industry predominantly carries a masculine image, there are concerted efforts to enhance gender diversity, improve working conditions for women, and foster successful careers for female professionals in the trucking and freight sector.
Various organizations, such as the Women in Trucking Association, Women in Trucking Foundation, Real Women in Trucking, SHE Trucking, and the USDOT’s Women & Girls in Transportation Initiative, are paving the way for women in the industry.
Here’s a glimpse of the statistics surrounding women in trucking:
Women behind the Wheel
In the driving profession, where men dominate, women make up a determined 12.1% of professional drivers, as reported by Women in Trucking. They are trailblazers on the open road.
The Power of Support
According to Women in Trucking, a significant 83% of women enter the trucking industry because of the encouragement and guidance of friends or family members. Support networks play a pivotal role in their journey.
Perceptions of Safety
More than 55% of North American truckers believe that trucking is a safe industry for women to work in, as affirmed by Women in Trucking. It’s a positive sign for those considering a career in trucking.
When it comes to turnover, dissatisfaction with the tractor, compensation for deadhead miles, and hours worked are the top three predictors for women truck drivers, according to Stay Metrics. Addressing these factors is essential to retaining female talent in the industry.
Interestingly, female truck drivers tend to be safer on the road than their male counterparts.
Compared to women, men truck drivers are 76% more likely to receive a seat belt violation, 51% more likely to disobey traffic signs, 14% more likely to get into a crash, and 57% more likely to drive too fast, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
This safety advantage is noteworthy.
Women are gradually making their way to the top of transportation companies. On average, women account for 31.6% of executives in the C-suite, as reported by Women in Trucking.
A notable 11% of carriers have marketing campaigns specifically targeted towards women, according to Women in Trucking. Tailored efforts recognize the unique needs and potential of women in the industry.
Like any other sector, the trucking industry is not immune to the challenges of crime and harassment.
In fact, it can be a more prevalent issue in this profession, as revealed by recent studies. Here’s a closer look at the statistics surrounding crime and harassment in the trucking industry:
Alarmingly, about half of the harassment in the trucking industry goes unreported, primarily because victims often don’t believe it will make a difference, according to the US DOT and FMCSA. This silence can perpetuate the problem.
Hotspots for Harassment
Truck driver harassment is most likely to occur at truck stops, places where drivers pick up or deliver, and fueling stations, according to the US DOT and FMCSA. These locations can be hotspots for trouble.
Lack of Policies
A concerning 37% of truck drivers reported that either their company does not have a harassment policy or they are unaware if their company has one, as disclosed by Women in Trucking. Clear and enforced policies are essential for prevention.
Concerns with Training
An alarming 42.5% of truck drivers are aware of incidents where drivers experienced harassment or assault while sharing the cab with a trainer of the opposite gender, according to Women in Trucking. This highlights a need for enhanced safety measures during training.
Common Harassment and Crime Types
The statistics below provide an overview of the most common types of harassment and crime experienced by truck drivers, categorized by gender and minority status, according to the US DOT and FMCSA:
|Harassment or Crime Type||Women||Minority Men||Non-Minority Men|
|Being called a name they did not like||59%||52%||51%|
|Received words that threatened to hurt them||38%||40%||44%|
|Truck or cargo got vandalized||17%||26%||25%|
|Got pushed or hit or physically hurt||15%||7%||13%|
|Got threatened with a weapon, like a gun or a knife or a wrench or a tire thumper||14%||25%||24%|
|Got touched inappropriately||33%||8%||14%|
Life on the open road can be a lonely journey, but for many U.S. truck drivers, they’ve found comfort and companionship in their four-legged co-pilots. Traveling with pets is a growing trend, offering emotional support and reducing stress. Here are the statistics:
Over Half on the Go
A remarkable 56% of U.S. truck drivers choose to travel with their pets, as revealed by Truckstop. This furry companionship brings a sense of home on the road.
For 50% of owner-operator truck drivers, traveling with pets serves as a source of emotional support, making the often solitary journey more bearable, according to Truckstop.
A Job Requirement
The bond between truckers and their pets is so strong that of those who travel with their pets, a significant 54% would consider seeking a different job if they could not bring their pets on the road, as reported by Truckstop.
The company of their animals is non-negotiable.
And there you have it, folks! We’ve reached the end of our road trip through the 49 trucking industry statistics for 2023. It’s been a wild ride, hasn’t it?
From the resilience of truckers braving industry challenges to the joy of having furry co-pilots in the cab, there’s a lot more to trucking than meets the eye.
Whether you’re in the industry or just intrigued by it, these stats have hopefully shed some light on the twists and turns of this dynamic profession.
As the wheels of the trucking industry keep on turning, we’ll be right here, ready to explore the exciting road ahead. Until then, keep on truckin’ and stay safe out there!
Yes, a significant number of truck drivers choose to travel with their pets. In fact, 56% of U.S. truck drivers have furry companions with them on the road, providing them with a source of companionship and comfort during their journeys.
Approximately 50% of owner-operator truck drivers opt to travel with their pets for emotional support. Their furry friends offer a sense of home and comfort, making the often solitary life on the road more bearable.
For those who travel with their pets, the bond is strong. A significant 54% would even consider changing their job if they couldn’t bring their pets with them. The company of their animals is a vital aspect of their trucking lifestyle.
Traveling with pets can reduce stress and provide emotional support for truck drivers. Having their furry friends along not only offers companionship but also helps create a more comfortable and less lonely atmosphere on the open road.
Pets play a significant role in the lives of truck drivers, enhancing their well-being and job satisfaction.
Many truckers choose to bring their pets along, which not only benefits their own mental and emotional health but also contributes to a happier and more content workforce in the trucking industry.