By Matt Sullivan, DAT Solutions
A lot of jobs that were pretty common 40 years ago aren’t so common anymore. There aren’t as many farmers as there used to be. The same thing is true for jobs like secretary and machine operator. But one job has been a mainstay in American life for four decades: Truck driver.
NPR recently ran a story where they listed the most common job for every state for each year, from 1978 to 2014. Truck drivers are everywhere.
Source: IPUMS-CPS/ University Of Minnesota
Credit: Quoctrung Bui/NPR
Not all of those truck driver jobs are over-the-road, though. The story was based on census information, and the government categorizes delivery people as truck drivers, too.
Still, trucking has had more staying power than a lot of jobs. NPR noted a few of the reasons:
“Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can’t drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can’t drive cars (yet).”
In 2014, truck driver was the most common job in 28 states. At its peak in 2004, truck driving was the most common job in a whopping 36 states.
In North Carolina, it’s been the most common job every year since 1986, the longest current streak. Not too surprising, since Charlotte is one of the most popular cities for load posts on DAT TruckersEdge.
Carriers Hire the Most Truck Drivers in 5 Years
While the map above is for 2014, it seems safe to say that a 2017 map would still look pretty similar. In February, trucking fleets added 10,600 jobs, the biggest increase in five years, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comes a month after fleets cut their payrolls by 5,100 jobs, so part of that increase was because fleets were adding back the jobs that went away in January.
Still, it’s a strong sign of growth for the trucking industry, so driving a truck is going to stay a popular job for a while yet.
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Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post. It was first published in March, 2017.