Truckers moved more 70.2% of all domestic freight tonnage in 2017, helping the industry reach $700.1 billion in annual revenue, American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported.
The group’s “American Trucking Trends 2018” also found trucks moved 10.77 billion tons of freight a year ago, including 69.1% of all trade between the U.S. and Mexico, and 57.7% of Canada-U.S. trade.
ATA president and CEO Chris Spear commented “trucking is literally the driving force behind our great economy. Safe, reliable and efficient motor carriers enable businesses throughout the supply chain to maintain lean inventories, thereby saving the economy billions of dollars each year.”
ATA announced details of the report the same day research firm FTR said its trucking conditions index for June continued to show extremely tight freight capacity. While conditions for truckers remained very favorable through the end of July, FTR projected some stabilization due to added capacity and productivity enhancements during the second half of the year.
“Given strong manufacturing and construction activity, stimulus from government spending and tax cuts, and a very tight labor market, trucking conditions for the next year should remain stronger than at any point from 2015 through 2017,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking.
Meanwhile, ATA’s report said about 7.7 million people were employed in jobs related to trucking activity last year, including 3.5 million drivers. About 1.7 million of those drivers operate heavy trucks and tractor-trailers.
However, the number of active truckers in the U.S. decreased to 3.506 million in 2017, according to the Department of Labor. This was a decrease of 36,000, or 1%, from 2016. Prior to last year, the number of truck drivers had increased annually since 2011.
Based on the latest available figures, there were about 35 million trucks registered for commercial use in 2016, including about 3.67 million Class 8 vehicles.