Saturday, December 8, 2007

Service Jobs - Transportation

Transportation and Warehousing Services

Jobs in transportation and warehousing jumped from 3.5 million in 1990 to 4.4 million in 2000, and still at 4.4 million jobs by 2012. Establishments hauling freight and moving passengers in modal transportation have 2.02 million of the jobs as part of air, rail, water, pipeline, truck, bus, taxi, and limousines services. Truck transportation firms have 1.35 million of these jobs, more than half of modal transportation employment.

In addition, sub sectors in transportation support services like couriers and messenger services and warehouse and storage services have another 1.22 million jobs as part of the NAICS transportation sector. Support services defy easy description, but jobs provide services for port, terminal and harbor operations including airports and do loading, unloading, navigation, logistics, packing, crating, and towing, but very little transporting. Warehousing and storage alone have 682 thousand of the 1.22 million and all three of these sub sectors continue to grow faster than modal transportation.

Only about 60 percent transportation and moving occupations are in this, the transportation and warehousing sector. That is mostly because driving jobs are in many sectors especially wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing and construction. There are 3.62 million driving jobs in the whole economy, including bus drivers and chauffeurs. More than half of transit and school bus drivers work for schools as part of local government or education sectors, which is more than half of 652.6 thousand bus driver jobs. School bus driving classifies as major employment with over 489.8 thousand jobs throughout the country. It is secure work; too bad it has such low pay.

Add up all the jobs in the economy as airline pilots, locomotive engineers and boat, ship or barge captains but it comes to just over 195.5 thousand. Drivers outnumber pilots, engineers and boat captains more than twenty to one. Unlike driving, almost all the airline pilots, locomotive engineers and boat, ship and barge captains work in transportation where they make up 13 to 18 percent of staffing in their respective transport modes. Drivers make up 55-60 percent of staffing in heavy and tractor trailer truck transportation, but 5 to 10 percent for light and delivery services.

Most of the jobs that require college degree skills are in management and finance rather than transportation. Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers, captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels, ship engineers are the exception. Air traffic controllers, commercial pilots and transportation inspectors require a program of specialized training that includes long term on the job training, but otherwise high school skills with some on the job training are the necessary preparation for transportation occupations.

Public debate continues about our transportation system. We know that Congress planned and funded the Interstate highway system and continues to collect a federal gas tax to pay for maintenance and occasional expansion. States build roads with their own taxes and bonds. Rail advocates complain that trucks are subsidized by having free access to federal and Interstate highways without tolls. Truckers say they pay thousands in gas taxes so roads are just like business and not subsidized by truckers. We could argue on and on until we are all exhausted. Whatever side to take on transportation issues it is hard to image a freight system that would generate more driving jobs than the one we have. We all want a job and America needs jobs so maybe that is part of the reason we decide to have so many trucks.

With a 115.3 million service jobs, Transportation and warehouse employment gives us 4.4 million jobs that have 3.3 percent of establishment employment. Transportation and warehouse employment continues to grow at approximately the national rate with a small increase in share of national employment since 1990. Expect more jobs in this sector but not too many, rather the number necessary to maintain its share.

We have reached the half way mark in the discussion of service sector jobs. Out of a 115.3 million jobs, 56.2 million of America’s service jobs are behind us. There are 54.7 million left to go. Jobs in trade are left, but also rental and leasing, administrative support services, repair and maintenance services, personal service, food and accommodation services and the biggie of all biggies, government.

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