Transportation and Material Moving Occupation Profiles


The Transportation and Material Moving occupation profiles compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in May 2016 and modified in March 2017) include specific information about 52 distinct occupational job types.

Explore the qualifications and nature of each job type through links on this page and throughout the site.

Fast Facts: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) estimates that 9,731,790 are employed in this occupational group earn the “mean annual wage” (as defined below) of $36,070.

If you are interested in assessing long-term trends and comparing the Bureau’s annual surveys beginning in 1988 see here

In general, the “mean”  is the sum of the total values (e.g., wages) in the data set or survey divided by number of values (while the “median” is the middle value in same the sequence. The term “mean annual wage” (or “MAW”) is calculated by multiplying the mean hourly wage as determined by the BLS by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours. So, for example, the Transportation and Material Moving group’s mean hourly wage of $17.34, multiplied by 2,080, results in the mean annual wage of $36,070.

Distinct Occupational Types (by size):
Largest Employment Category—Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand—2,587,900
Smallest Employment Category—Locomotive Firers—1,210

Highest Paid (mean annual wage)


Lowest Paid (from the lowest)

What’s Hot: This is the planes, trains and automobiles group. The commercial airline industry lives in ‘rarified air’ as Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers (with a mean annual wage of $152,770, Air Traffic Controllers ($118,200) and Commercial Pilots ($86,260) hold the top three spots on this group’s Best Paid list. Clearly, the skies are friendly to this group. Interestingly, occupations related to ships are clustered in the 4th and 5th spots, followed by trains (at #6, 7 & 9) comprising most of the remaining Best Paid top ten.

What’s Not: Automobile-related occupations apparently hold less weight (both literally and figuratively) as Parking Lot Attendants (at $23,250) and Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants ($24,280) hold the first two positions on the Least Paid list. Similar to the undervalued Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics with a MAW of $36,110 in the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical group, Ambulance Drivers and Attendants (excluding Emergency Medical Technicians) come in at $25,600. In addition, Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs are at $26,790 and Bus Drivers, School, who are entrusted with the safety of the country’s most valuable resource have a mean annual wage of $31,110. In a 2008 comment about the relative low pay of taxi drivers we flippantly noted “try getting around New York without them.” A lot has changed since then, as taxi drivers in places like New York City unexpectedly face an even more daunting threat to their occupational well-being these days with the advent of ride-sharing behemoths like Uber and Lyft.   

Wage Estimates for the entire group can be found here.

Sources: In addition to specific citations noted, supplementary source materials include the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.