September 11-17 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Here in the Midwest, Truck Drivers are a key part of the supply chain and crucial to the economy. The role of truck drivers will continue to be indispensable to the success and growth of commerce in this region.
Last year, the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC) released its report on the workforce needs within the transportation industry. The MTWC’s Job Needs and Priorities Report: Phase I drew on state 2012 labor data from the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The MTWC found that the demand for Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers will exceed that of any other occupation in the Midwest between 2012-2022.
According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers across the country today. Last year, they drove more than 421 billion miles, delivered nearly 10 billion tons of freight – accounting for roughly 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States. Eighty percent of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking to deliver goods.
The Job Needs and Priorities Report indicates the greatest increases in jobs that will be seen between now and 2022 in the Midwest region are projected to be in Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers (more than 82,000 jobs), followed by Stock Laborers and Freight and Hand Material Movers (more than 63,000 jobs). No other occupations approach these totals. The third fastest growing occupation is projected to be Packers and Packagers (more than 15,000 jobs) and the fourth, Light or Delivery Services Truck Drivers (nearly 11,000 jobs). While these projections do not take into account new technologies such as platooning or driverless trucks that are currently being tested, the demand for truck drivers will continue because the Midwest, is a freight hub for the Nation.
From this report, it is clear that Truck Driving is, and will continue to be, a keystone to the Midwestern economy. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an important opportunity to not only show support and appreciation for the professionals who keep the Supply Chain flowing smoothly, but also to educate future transportation professionals about the career opportunities available.