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Table 4-4: Employment in Selected Freight Transportation and Freight Transportation-Related Occupations

Freight transportation jobs are not limited to for-hire carriers. Truck driving is by far the largest freight transportation occupation in the United States, and many drivers work for retailers and other establishments with shipper-owned trucks. There were more than 3 million truck drivers in 2006; about 56 percent of these professionals drive heavy/tractor trailer trucks, 31 percent drive light/delivery service trucks, and about 13 percent are driver/sales workers. Many industry analysts believe the number of truck drivers is below demand and that driver shortages will worsen in the future.

Table in Excel format | Historical data

Occupation (SOC code) 2000 2004 2005 2006
Vehicle operators, pipeline operators, and primary supportempty Cell
Driver/sales worker (53-3031)373,660406,910400,530396,680
Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer (53-3032)1,577,0701,553,3701,624,7401,673,950
Truck drivers, light or delivery services (53-3033)1,033,220938,730938,280941,590
Locomotive engineers (53-4011)29,39031,18037,39036,870
Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, and hostlers (53-4013)4,0206,1706,9705,820
Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators (53-4021)16,83016,41020,70022,810
Railroad conductors and yardmasters (53-4031)40,38035,72038,33037,110
Sailors and marine oilers (53-5011)30,09027,57031,09031,690
Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels (53-5021)21,08025,20028,57029,170
Ship engineers (53-5031)7,37010,33013,24014,190
Bridge and lock tenders (53-6011)4,7903,5003,6203,700
Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators (53-7071)6,5104,6803,9503,900
Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers (53-7072)13,7309,8109,97010,030
Transportation equipment manufacturing and maintenance occupationsempty Cell
Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists (49-3031)258,800251,430248,280254,850
Rail car repairers (49-3043)10,62018,14024,27023,810
Transportation Infrastructure construction and maintenance occupationsempty Cell
Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators (47-4061)9,94010,43013,51013,680
Signal and track switch repairers (49-9097)5,5407,7806,1005,980
Dredge operators (53-7031)3,1001,7301,7201,780
Secondary support service occupationsempty Cell
Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance (43-5032)167,180165,910172,550185,410
Postal service mail carriers (43-5052)354,980344,050347,180346,990
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks (43-5071)864,530747,270759,910763,350
Transportation inspectors (53-6051)26,52024,14025,57023,790
Tank car, truck, and ship loaders (53-7121)17,48016,53015,95015,360

Key: SOC = Standard Occupational Classification.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, 2005 (Washington, DC: May 2005), available at as of June 3, 2007.

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