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InfrastructureNewsTop StoriesTrucking

Report: Trucking jobs account for 20% of Biden’s infrastructure plan

15 million infrastructure jobs created or saved over 10 years, study estimates

Commercial truck driver jobs are forecast to make some of the biggest gains if the Biden administration’s infrastructure package can get through Congress without major revisions, according to a report analyzing the plan.

The report, by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), was published just as President Joe Biden was releasing his American Jobs Plan last week. It is based on infrastructure-related policy data and information that the administration has made public over the past year, including the infrastructure plan Biden rolled out during the presidential campaign.

“Nothing in the package announced by the president last week changes our calculations in terms of jobs created or saved,” a Georgetown CEW spokesperson told FreightWaves.

If Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure program is enacted, it “could put the United States back on a pre-recession job growth path and create and/or save 15 million jobs,” according to the report. It estimated that infrastructure jobs averaged 12% of all jobs in the U.S. economy prior to the pandemic. Midpandemic, the number of infrastructure jobs in 2020 averaged 11% of all jobs, “reflective of the general malaise in employment across the labor force.” The report estimates that under Biden’s plan, infrastructure-related jobs would increase temporarily to 14% of the total job market.

“Transportation and materials moving” make up 60% of the infrastructure related occupations either created or saved by Biden’s plan, according to the report (see table below). Within that category, jobs for commercial drivers of heavy trucks and light truck/delivery drivers would account for 1.9 million and 901,300 jobs, respectively — roughly 2.81 million jobs total — which is close to 20% of the 15 million jobs estimated in the report.

Transportation/material-moving jobs dominate jobs gained or saved.
Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce forecast

The report also forecasts that the infrastructure jobs created or saved would be spread across the country. “In general, the job opportunities favor relatively more populated coastal states, but all stand to benefit from the infrastructure investment, including states that have not had as much economic growth as other states.”

Roughly 20% of the infrastructure jobs created under Biden’s proposal would be in Midwestern states, with 22% going to states in the Southeast, including such states as Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia, “which have some of the lowest median household incomes in the nation,” the report points out.

(Trucking employment has yet to recover its pre-pandemic levels, exacerbating tight capacity conditions and high rates for shippers. Chart: FreightWaves SONAR. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Getting the plan through Congress could be a heavy lift for Democrats. Major lobbying groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Associations — while supportive of getting an infrastructure bill passed — oppose having it paid for by the plan’s proposed corporate tax hike from 21% to 28%.

The report contends, however, that while Republicans may not support the plan as proposed, their voters may.

“An infrastructure program would be good for their working-class supporters who feel left behind by economic change,” the report states, estimating that of the 15 million jobs that could be created with this infrastructure stimulus, 8.6 million would be in Democratic-leaning states, and 6.4 million would be in Republican-leaning states.

“There would be 2.7 million infrastructure jobs just in the seven closely contested states that were key to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”

The report also notes “legitimate labor market concerns” about how jobs would be distributed when taking gender into account. It estimates that jobs held by women have accounted for close to 55% of all jobs lost since the pandemic began. But because infrastructure jobs tend to be male-dominated — 90% are currently held by men — “efforts need to be made to ensure inclusion of women as infrastructure jobs are expanded.”

Related articles:

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

9 Comments

  1. This is a ridiculous projection. It’s inevitable that automated self driving technology will soon be making inroads into the trucking industry. It is already happening in passenger cars, and the economic advantages for trucking are overwhelming. In 20 years, unless it is stopped by regulation, virtually all long haul trucking will be driverless.

    1. Nick SJ, sorry! but you fantasy is just as ridiculous ! 120 years maybe, even if the robot can get the driving done, and they may , there still is much about truck transportation that big tech. and freight waves has yet to learn.

  2. We cannot fill the empty seats now. How will creating more driving jobs help? Just by “creating” something, doesnt mean it will be wanted/used/filled, however you want to look at it.

    1. as soon as they crawl across the border, put them a truck, driver shortage & affordable house problem cured ! ( unfortunaly, I am not joking)

  3. When did the media become a propaganda tool that continues to praise the government? More and more like the media of some centralized society in the world. I have to say that this is a SHAME to the media.

    Please assume the responsibility of supervising the government. Consider the current policy direction, whether the required technological progress is too fast, and the required green transportation is too radical. How much taxpayer’s money will be wasted on large technology companies and environmental protection agencies? And how many truck drivers and their families who originally had a stable job and income will be significantly negatively affected.

  4. That’s all fine and dandy but the schools are going to have to teach all these new people etiquette. Don’t be leaving your trash all over the truck stop don’t be dumping your pee jugs out on the ground where we park and don’t be taking 30 minute breaks in the fuel Island when the truck behind you need to get moving things like that are becoming a real problem out here because there’s far too many new drivers that don’t know what they need to do or how they should act

  5. You fail to mention how Biden’s PRO ACT will negatively impact drivers who are Owner/operators. There are tens of thousands of owner Operators in my state leased to commercial carriers BY CHOICE! We are small businesses men and women who have spent a great deal of time and money creating a successful business and are now in danger of losing that business. We do not care to have our own authority nor do we want to be company drivers ( what do we do with all our equipment) . No thanks TEAMSTERS…. co conspirators in this plan. We CHOOSE to remain owner/Operators. The PRO ACT badly needs revisions before passing into law.

  6. This article is as phony as the staged photo. The author is clearly a Biden stooge. Where exactly do these numbers come from? Thin air? Whoever picked the photo is truly a “social justice warrior” How perfectly woke you are. A white guy and a black guy with their matching flannel shirts looking the part. Where’s the seatbelt? Nonsense, any new jobs created with infrastructure will be rock jockeys, and that’s where they will get their minority quota.

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