Back to the 1980s, when the technology sector was in its infancy, telling your parents you were considering looking into truck driving jobs after high school would have been an open invitation to a three-hour lecture about “doing something with your life.” After all, everyone assumed that truck-driving jobs were for those incapable of getting a college education. Such thinking was wrong then, and it is still wrong today.
Imagine if you will a world without truck driving jobs. It may not seem like such a big deal if your knowledge of freight transport is limited. However, for those who understand how consumer goods are moved in this country, a world without trucks would be remarkably different. To demonstrate what we are talking about, consider the following statistics from Business Insider:
- trucking generates 83.7% of the total transportation sector revenue in the U.S.
- the trucking industry generates $650 billion in annual revenues, equal to 5% of GDP
- truckers move $139 trillion worth of goods across the country each year
- there were 761,850 tractor-trailer drivers working in the U.S. in 2013
- the average salary for a truck driver in 2013 was $37,770.
It is abundantly clear that the trucking industry in the U.S. is a vital part of our economy. A world without truck driving jobs would be a world without a trucking industry and, as a result, a very different world altogether. Everything from your local grocery store to the website where you bought your smart phone would be negatively impacted.
Built on Freight
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the United States existed primarily on small, local economies with an emphasis on agriculture and micro manufacturing. Individual towns would have their own blacksmiths, cobblers, and merchants, while the areas outside of town would be dominated by farms. In such a small economy, there was no need for excessive freight transport. What little was needed from the outside world could be brought in by wagon or train. That all changed at the turn of the 20th century. Advances in manufacturing following World War I paved the way for local economies to expand regionally, across state lines and then eventually across the country. The pace of expansion only accelerated with World War II and the boom years that followed. And none of it would have been possible without a trucking industry capable of moving freight from coast-to-coast.
Today’s economy is built on freight hauling and logistics. For example, all of those imported electronic devices in your home reached the United States on shipping containers that arrived in ports in California, New York, or Florida. Trucks hauled them to distributors and eventually to retailers. The same is true for most of the packaged foods in your pantry. In fact, nearly everything in your home was moved by a truck at one point or another.
A Great Career
Truck drivers are a unique group of individuals. They enjoy the freedom of spending their days on the open road; they are thrilled with the opportunity to see new places and meet new people. Most are fiercely independent and they would find it very difficult to sit in front of a computer all day. Nevertheless, make no mistake, truck drivers are not workers who settled for driving because they were incapable of doing anything else. They do what they do because they love it.
Truck driving is a great career option with many upsides. It is true that driving is not for everyone, but it is for some. Thankfully, we do not have to experience a world without truck driving jobs.