The Trucking Industry is Doomed

I recently read an article about jobs that are disappearing in America. Trucking was listed as one of them. A commenter noted that there is unfilled demand for 50,000 trucking jobs. Amazing, right? Except they’re unfilled for a reason: although admittedly an anecdote, friends in the industry tell me that young people just aren’t going into trucking. It’s never been a glamorous job, but apparently now it’s not a high-paying or stable one either.

Rates have tanked. Trucking used to be a very lucrative career. Not so much now. Companies have figured out that it’s mostly about getting stuff from point A to B (I say this objectively, not making any claims about truckers whom I love!), and found as many ways as possible to reduce wages, hours, etc.

I’ll note that public data appears to contradict this, and I’m interested in any feedback if you’re in the industry and you’ve seen your pay rise or fall over the last couple of years. Leave a comment or contact me.

Trucking is also being fiercely automated. WalMart is pushing to automate and electrify it’s entire fleet by 2026 last I read. Tesla is betting on an automated future. Volvo, too. And Mercedes. Several other companies, such as Uber whose push toward automation threatens millions of another kind of transportation job, have jumped in as well.

Distribution and transportation jobs will first shrink to the local stage, where strange and ever-changing roads (at least in cities) confound drones and autopilot systems today. Then give it another few years and those will be gone as well. Drivers will just be attendants in the truck or car to fix anything that breaks, but they’ll be paid minimum wage because a computer will tell them exactly what is broken and how to fix it. No skill needed besides being human.

Don’t believe me? It’s not just private industry moving toward this future but the US government, from the White House through Congress, likely including your representatives, has been working behind the scenes to support the rise of the robots, largely without any plans regarding retraining or what happens next for all those displaced.

But that’s a post for another time.

What other careers and industries do you see being displaced by automation? Leave a comment or send me a note.

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