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BLS sees 20.6% more truck drivers in 2020 than in 2010

The number of heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers is expected to rise by 330,100, or 20.6%, between 2010 and 2020, according to the latest projections contained in the 2012-2013 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, released March 29 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency forecast 1,934,900 heavy truck/tractor-trailer drivers by 2020.

Based on BLS projections, drivers of heavy trucks (defined by the agency as Class 7-8) would see the eighth largest increase in numbers of employees among all occupations in the United States. No. 1 is registered nurses at 711,900, followed by retail sales persons, home health aides, personal care aides, office clerks, food service workers and customer service representatives.

According to the 2012-2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook there were 1.605 million heavy truck drivers in 2010. This is significantly higher than the 1.467 million drivers reported in the May 2010 Occupational Employment Statistics program survey because the OES figures reflect only wage and salary workers. The higher number is based on data that also takes into account people who are self-employed or who even might be unpaid, such as a family members working in a small business.

On March 27, BLS made public its numbers from the May 2011 OES survey, and the number of heavy truck drivers earning wages or salaries had risen to 1.509 million. That was the first increase since 2007 but is about 185,000 below the peak year of 2007. Except for 2010′s 1.467 million drivers, the 2011 level is the lowest since 1998, according to BLS numbers.

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