Truck-Driving Jobs: Are They Headed for Rapid Elimination? - Maury Gittleman, Kristen Monaco, 2020
The authors analyze the potential effects of automation on the jobs of truck drivers and conclude that media accounts predicting the imminent loss of millions of truck-driving jobs are overstated. Their conclusion is based on three main factors. First, the count of truck drivers is often inflated due to a misunderstanding of the occupational classification system used in federal statistics. Second, truck drivers do more than drive, and these non-driving tasks will continue to be in demand. Third, the requirements of technology, combined with complex regulations over how trucks can operate in the United States, imply that certain segments of trucking will be easier to automate than others. Long-haul trucking (which constitutes a minority of jobs) will be much easier to automate than will short-haul trucking (or the last mile), in which the bulk of employment lies. Although technology will likely transform the status quo in the trucking industry, it does not necessarily imply the wholesale elimination of the demand for truck drivers, as conventional accounts suggest.