Articles, Employment, Transportation

How Many Jobs Are Available in Transportation?

Written By: Megan Miller
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated April 6, 2023

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a train moving on the tracks

With the increase in transportation technologies, more jobs are available in transportation than ever before. Transportation workers include truck drivers, bus drivers, train operators, air traffic controllers, and shipping clerks. Further, transportation-related occupations may have high salaries and good benefits. Transportation is a critical sector of the U.S. economy and provides jobs for thousands of people.

This guide will walk you through what kinds of jobs are available in the transportation industry.

Transportation Industry in the U.S. and the availability of jobs

The transportation industry in the U.S. is one of the most essential and significant industries. The sector includes all modes of transportation, such as trucking, railroads, airlines, and maritime. Moreover, the transportation sector is a key component of the U.S. economy, employing over 13.3 million people. The industry also generates billions of dollars in revenue each year.

The transportation industry comes with many jobs available for those who are qualified. The sector comprises various positions, from truck drivers to aviation mechanics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the industry will grow 6 percent annually from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means there are many opportunities for those wanting to enter the transportation industry. 

What makes up the transportation sector?

people working in jobs in the airline transportation industry

The transportation sector comprises air freight, logistics, airlines, marine, road and rail, and transportation infrastructure.

The transportation sector is a vital part of the economy, and it consists of several industries, including air freight and logistics, airlines, maritime shipping, and railroads. Each of these industries has its unique challenges and opportunities.

Air Freight and Logistics Industry

The air freight and logistics industries are critical to the global economy. It operates by transporting goods and materials through the air, typically by large cargo planes. The industry has seen rapid growth in recent years as businesses increasingly rely on it to move goods quickly and efficiently worldwide. The industry is highly complex and involves various players, including airlines, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. Governments from around the world also heavily regulate the transportation industry.

Kinds of Jobs Available

There are many different jobs available in the air freight and logistics industry. Positions include pilots, mechanics, and cargo handlers. The industry is also looking for people who can work in sales, marketing, and accounting. Air Freight and logistics is a growing field, with many opportunities for advancement.

Airlines Industries

Much like other industries, airlines have to contend with regulations and restrictions that can hamper their business. But what about the airline industry makes it difficult to turn a profit? The airline industry is unique because it requires a high fixed cost to operate and has very high variable costs. For example, an airline has to pay for the cost of the plane whether or not there are passengers. In addition, the industry is highly competitive. As a result, airlines often cut fares to fill seats. This leaves airlines little room for error regarding pricing and revenue management.

Kinds of Jobs Available

The airline industry employs pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and engineers. Pilots fly airplanes and navigate them to their destinations. Flight attendants serve passengers on board the plane and help them with their needs. Mechanics maintain the aircraft and make sure they are safe to fly. Engineers design new planes and oversee their construction.

Maritime Shipping Industry

Maritime shipping is an ancient industry used for trade and transportation for centuries. For example, it is a critical part of the global economy and today plays a vital role in the worldwide movement of goods and people. Indeed, there are several different maritime shipping industries, each with its unique operating procedures.

Kinds of Jobs Available

There are a variety of transportation jobs available in the maritime shipping industry, from deckhands to captains. Moreover, employment in the marine shipping industry can be both challenging and rewarding. Also, it offers opportunities for travel and adventure. Also, with the growth of the tourism industry and the increasing popularity of group travel, the demand for charter bus services has increased, creating new job opportunities for those with the necessary skills and qualifications.

Road and Rail Industry

yellow and black train on rail tracks during sunset

The road and rail industry is a massive sector that helps to keep the economy moving. It is responsible for transporting goods and passengers over long distances and plays a vital role in the movement of resources and materials. Also, this industry comprises several components, including road haulage companies, rail operators, and logistics firms. Indeed, each component operates uniquely, but they all work together to ensure the industry functions smoothly.

Kinds of Jobs Available

The transportation industry is a vital part of the economy, and those with jobs connect people and businesses to markets and resources. To be sure, there are many different types of transportation. However, two of the most common are road and rail. And, both modes have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

There are many different jobs available in the road and rail industry. For example, drivers are needed to operate vehicles on the road or on railways. And engineers design and oversee the construction of transportation infrastructure. Further, maintenance workers keep transportation systems running smoothly. Indeed, the road industry is vital to the economy, connecting people and businesses to markets and resources.

Employment in the Transportation Sector

The transportation sector is vital to the United States economy, employing millions of people. Jobs in the sector range from transportation and logistics managers to truck drivers and freight forwarders. The sector is expected to grow in the coming years as the economy recovers from the recession.

How Many People Work in the Trucking Industry?

The trucking industry is male-dominated, as men hold 90% of the jobs. But how many people have jobs in this transportation industry? That’s a difficult question because there are so many jobs in the trucking industry. Truck drivers are the most visible workers in the trucking industry, but mechanics, dispatchers, and many other workers keep the trucks running.

However, according to the American Trucking Association, the number of professional truck drivers alone is 3.6 million.

Average Salary of a Truck Driver

The average salary for a heavy truck driver is $86,195 per year in the United States. This is a respectable salary, but making a living in this transportation job cannot be easy. The cost of living in most parts of the country is high, and many truck drivers struggle to make ends meet. However, some country areas are where truck drivers can make a good living.

How Many People Work in the Freight Forwarding Industry?

red and blue cargo containers

The freight forwarding industry is a vital part of the United States economy. These transportation jobs are responsible for moving goods and materials to and from the country. Interestingly, the industry employed more than 359,600 people nationwide in 2021 for various services. Most of these workers are employed in the transportation sector. Indeed, the industry has seen steady growth in recent years and is expected to continue to grow in the years ahead.

Average Salary of a Cargo & Freight Agent

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, freight forwarders earn an average annual salary of $40,000 to $70,000, depending on the role and requirements of the jobs. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,000, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,000. Freight forwarders are responsible for organizing and coordinating the transportation of goods between companies. They often work with customs officials to ensure goods are cleared for export or import.

Logistics Industry 

yellow and white plastic box lot

Logistics is the process that gets a product from the manufacturer to the customer. This process is very important for companies and must be done in a timely and cost-effectively. The logistics industry in the United States is one of the largest globally. It employs millions of people and has an annual revenue of over $1 trillion. The industry has seen steady growth over the past few years and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Several factors have contributed to this growth, including globalization, technological advances, and changes in consumer behavior.

Average Salary of a Logistics Manager

Logistics managers are responsible for the efficient and effective flow of goods and services from suppliers to customers. People in these transportation jobs oversee the entire supply chain, from initial planning to final delivery. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a logistics manager in the U.S. was $77,030 in 2021.

The job market for logistics managers is expected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. This is faster than the average for all occupations. As businesses continue to globalize, they will need more professionals to manage complex supply chains. Job prospects are best for those with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field and experience in logistics and project management.


The transportation industry is one of the most important in the United States. It provides jobs for drivers, mechanics, and other workers. Many transportation jobs include truck driving, airline transport, freight hauling, and busing. The transportation industry is constantly changing, and new technologies have made it possible to transport goods and people using different methods.

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