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Pilots and air traffic controllers were highest paid transportation workers in May 2018

May 30, 2019

Transportation and material moving occupations had employment of 10.2 million in May 2018, representing 7.1 percent of total U.S. employment. The largest transportation and material moving occupation was laborers and hand freight, stock, and material movers, with employment of 2.9 million. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (1.8 million), light truck or delivery services drivers (915,310), and hand packers and packagers (663,970) also were among the largest transportation and material moving occupations.

Employment and annual mean wages for transportation and material moving occupations, May 2018
Occupation Employment Annual mean wage

Supervisors of transportation and material moving workers

Aircraft cargo handling supervisors

8,920 $55,110

First-line supervisors of transportation and material moving workers, except aircraft cargo handling supervisors

411,060 58,140

Air transportation workers

Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

82,890 169,560

Commercial pilots

37,870 96,530

Air traffic controllers

22,390 120,830

Airfield operations specialists

9,960 56,760

Flight attendants

118,770 56,630

Motor vehicle operators

Ambulance drivers and attendants, except emergency medical technicians

15,380 29,010

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

174,110 44,650

Bus drivers, school or special client

504,150 33,390

Driver/sales workers

414,860 29,610

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

1,800,330 45,570

Light truck or delivery services drivers

915,310 36,920

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

207,920 28,450

Motor vehicle operators, all other

56,810 35,640

Rail transportation workers

Locomotive engineers

34,850 66,920

Locomotive firers

560 69,030

Rail yard engineers, dinkey operators, and hostlers

5,690 54,640

Railroad brake, signal, and switch operators

14,270 58,890

Railroad conductors and yardmasters

42,360 66,080

Subway and streetcar operators

8,850 62,970

Rail transportation workers, all other

2,890 58,490

Water transportation workers

Sailors and marine oilers

32,220 46,180

Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels

36,390 82,380

Motorboat operators

2,510 50,350

Ship engineers

8,740 75,710

Other transportation workers

Bridge and lock tenders

3,170 47,660

Parking lot attendants

145,900 25,130

Automotive and watercraft service attendants

113,760 25,940

Traffic technicians

7,290 50,700

Transportation inspectors

29,990 75,330

Transportation attendants, except flight attendants

25,460 30,640

Transportation workers, all other

37,560 42,870

Material moving workers

Conveyor operators and tenders

23,390 35,110

Crane and tower operators

44,410 58,160

Dredge operators

1,190 47,500

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators

46,090 48,680

Loading machine operators, underground mining

2,500 51,450

Hoist and winch operators

3,180 56,390

Industrial truck and tractor operators

604,130 36,480

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

378,850 26,900

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

2,893,180 30,890

Machine feeders and offbearers

66,380 31,710

Packers and packagers, hand

663,970 26,490

Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators

3,460 62,900

Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers

10,820 47,510

Wellhead pumpers

13,280 53,870

Refuse and recyclable material collectors

118,520 40,560

Mine shuttle car operators

1,690 56,150

Tank car, truck, and ship loaders

9,000 42,330

Material moving workers, all other

27,010 35,000

The smallest transportation and material moving occupations were locomotive firers (560), dredge operators (1,190), and mine shuttle car operators (1,690).

Transportation and material moving occupations had an annual mean wage of $38,290, below the U.S. average of $51,960 for all occupations combined. Several of the highest paying transportation and material moving occupations were related to air or water transportation, including airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers ($169,560); air traffic controllers ($120,830); commercial pilots ($96,530); captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels ($82,380); and ship engineers ($75,710).

Parking lot attendants ($25,130), automotive and watercraft service attendants ($25,940), hand packers and packagers ($26,490), and cleaners of vehicles and equipment ($26,900) were the lowest paying transportation and material moving occupations.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. To learn more, see the occupational profiles for transportation and material moving occupations. Also see "Occupational Employment and Wages — May 2018."  

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Pilots and air traffic controllers were highest paid transportation workers in May 2018 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/pilots-and-air-traffic-controllers-were-highest-paid-transportation-workers-in-may-2018.htm (visited August 09, 2020).

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