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Industries at a Glance
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Couriers and Messengers: NAICS 492

About the Couriers and Messengers subsector

The couriers and messengers subsector is part of the transportation and warehousing sector.

Industries in the Couriers and Messengers subsector provide intercity and/or local delivery of parcels and documents (including express delivery services) without operating under a universal service obligation. These articles can be described as those that may be handled by one person without using special equipment. This allows the collection, pick-up, and delivery operations to be done with limited labor costs and minimal equipment. Sorting and transportation activities, where necessary, are generally mechanized. The restriction to small parcels partly distinguishes these establishments from those in the transportation industries. The complete network of courier services establishments also distinguishes these transportation services from local messenger and delivery establishments in this subsector. This includes the establishments that perform intercity transportation as well as establishments that, under contract to them, perform local pick-up and delivery. Messengers, which usually deliver within a metropolitan or single urban area, may use bicycle, foot, small truck, or van.

North American Industry Classification System

The couriers and messengers subsector consists of these industry groups:

  • Couriers: NAICS 4921
  • Local Messengers and Local Delivery: NAICS 4922

Workforce Statistics

This section provides information relating to employment in couriers and messengers. These data are obtained from employer or establishment surveys. The following tables present an overview of the industry including the number of jobs, data for occupations common to the industry, and projections of occupational employment change.

Employment

Data series Back
data
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021

Employment (in thousands)

Employment, all employees (seasonally adjusted)

992.3 1,063.9 (p)1,033.0 (p)1,019.3

Employment, production and nonsupervisory employees

881.4 1,061.5 (p)1,188.6  

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Employment by Occupation

Data series Employment,
2019

Couriers and messengers

22,280

Customer service representatives

9,980

Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance

6,640

First-line supervisors/managers of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators

38,040

Truck drivers, light or delivery services

239,030

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Projections

For projected (future) employment estimates, see the National Employment Matrix, which includes employment estimates by industry and occupation for couriers and messengers.

(Source: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections)

Earnings and Hours

This section presents data on employee earnings and weekly hours. The latest industry averages of hourly earnings and weekly hours are shown. In addition, recent hourly and annual earnings are shown for occupations commonly found in couriers and messengers.

Earnings and Hours of All Employees

Data series Back
data
Sep.
2020
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020

Average hourly earnings

$20.48 $20.38 $20.55 (p)$21.15

Average weekly hours

37.3 37.6 37.8 (p)39.6

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings and Hours of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees

Data series Back
data
Sep.
2020
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020

Average hourly earnings

$18.51 $18.65 $18.73 (p)$19.93

Average weekly hours

38.1 38.3 38.2 (p)39.8

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Current Employment Statistics)

Earnings by Occupation

Data series Wages, 2019
Hourly Annual
Median Mean Median Mean

Couriers and messengers

$14.20 $15.54 $29,530 $32,320

Customer service representatives

$19.63 $20.80 $40,830 $43,260

Dispatchers, except police, fire, and ambulance

$20.93 $22.20 $43,530 $46,170

First-line supervisors/managers of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators

$23.36 $27.41 $48,580 $57,010

Truck drivers, light or delivery services

$23.66 $24.51 $49,220 $50,980

(Source: Occupational Employment Statistics)

Work-related Fatalities, Injuries, and Illnesses

This section presents data for the industry on the number of workplace fatalities and the rates of workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in couriers and messengers. An injury or illness is considered to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

Data series 2016 2017 2018 2019

Fatalities

Number of fatalities

30 51 35 45

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

Data series 2019

Rate of injury and illness cases per 100 full-time workers

Total recordable cases

8.1

Cases involving days away from work, job restriction, or transfer

6.1

Cases involving days away from work

3.3

Cases involving days of job transfer or restriction

2.8

Blank cells indicate no data reported or data that do not meet publication criteria.

(Source: Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities)

Prices

This section provides industry-specific pricing information. The producer price index measures the percentage change in prices that domestic producers receive for goods and services. The prices included in the producer price index are from the first commercial transaction.

Data series Back
data
Oct.
2020
Nov.
2020
Dec.
2020
Jan.
2021

Producer price index

(p)241.2 (p)241.2 (p)242.1 (p)253.9

Percent change from previous month

  (p)-0.1% (p)0.0% (p)0.4% (p)4.9%

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Producer Price Indexes)

Workplace Trends

This section presents data on the number of establishments in couriers and messengers. Also included in this section is information on productivity, presented as the rate of change in output per hour of workers in the industry.

Establishments

Data series Back
data
3rd quarter
2019
4th quarter
2019
1st quarter
2020
2nd quarter
2020

Number of establishments

Private industry

18,388 18,707 (p)18,897 (p)19,124

Local government

3 3 (p)3 (p)3

State government

       

Footnotes
(p) Preliminary

(Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages)

Productivity

Data series Back
data
2016 2017 2018 2019

Labor productivity index, output per hour

62.900 62.707 59.939 52.885

Percent change from previous year

0.2 -0.3 -4.4 -11.8

Labor index, total labor hours

111.008 115.919 123.805 140.371

Percent change from previous year

5.7 4.4 6.8 13.4

Output index

69.824 72.689 74.208 74.235

Percent change from previous year

6.0 4.1 2.1 0.0

Unit labor costs index

139.772 146.107 152.076 166.872

Percent change from previous year

-2.1 4.5 4.1 9.7

(Source: Productivity and Costs)

 

Data extracted on: February 24, 2021