The trucking industry made $791.7 billion in revenue in 2019, according to the American Trucking Association’s (ATA) American Trucking Trends 2020 report. This accounted for 80.4% of the U.S.’s national freight bill, showing that trucks continue to transport most of the freight moving throughout the continent. The report also revealed that trucks moved 11.84 billion tons of freight during the year, a 3% year-over-year increase from 2018’s 11.49 tons of freight.
Last year’s revenues were down slightly from the $796.7 billion the industry made in 2018. Despite the slight dip, the trucking industry entered 2020 on a strong note, which is why it was able to be so resilient during the pandemic. “Despite a challenging year, the data contained in American Trucking Trends shows the industry was in good shape entering the global pandemic,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello.
While revenues were down a bit, employment in trucking grew. The industry employed 7.95 million people in trucking-related jobs in 2019, up 140,000 from 2018, with professional truck drivers accounting for 3.6 million of these jobs. However, women only made up 6.7% of those employed, showing that the industry is still male dominated. In terms of diversity, the industry is doing better with minorities accounting for 41.5% of drivers. This is an increase from the 40.4% of minority drivers the industry employed in 2018.
The report highlighted the crucial role trucks played in trade between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Trucks were responsible for moving 67.7% of surface freight between the U.S. and Canada, and 83.1% of cross-border trade with Mexico, totaling $772 billion of goods. Now that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement is ratified and in place, these numbers are expected to rise.
The ATA report showed that most carriers continued to be small companies. Fleets with six or fewer trucks made up 91.3% of all fleets. Fleets with 20 or fewer accounted for 97.4% of all fleets. It will be interesting to see whether the strain of the pandemic creates any significant shift in 2020.
This year has been a difficult one. Even though the transportation industry was essential in fighting the pandemic and keeping the economy going, the industry still faced many challenges.