Who's Behind the Wheel? Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry
The second in a series of papers titled "Immigrants Working for US," this paper examines the economic contributions of immigrants in the U.S. trucking industry. In 2012, immigrants represented 13 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 15.7 percent of the total truck driver workforce. The proportion of immigrant truck drivers was especially high in certain states such as California (46.7 percent), New Jersey (40.4 percent), Florida (32.2 percent) and New York (25.7 percent). Using data from the American Trucking Association and the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the research brief "Who's Behind the Wheel? Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry" finds that the trucking industry is the backbone of the U.S. economy with 70 percent of all the freight tonnage within the country transported via trucks. However the industry experiences chronic worker shortages due to a high turnover rate and an aging native-born workforce. The author suggests that immigrant truck drivers can play a critical role in filling these shortages, but they will need access to English language training to pass commercial licensing exams and an increase in the quota of H-2B visas to allow more immigrants to fill vacancies in the industry.
Khan, Z. S. (2014). "Who's Behind the Wheel? Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry." George Mason University: Fairfax, VA. Available at http://immigrationresearch.org/system/files/Immigrants_in_the_Trucking_Industry_IIR_GMU.pdf