There are many ways to classify truckers, two of the most common being the distances over which truckers haul cargo, and the size of that cargo. A trucker's salary depends on several factors, including the aspects just mentioned. Other aspects include which industry employs the trucker, and his employer's state. Prospective truckers can use salary data to help them decide where to work for the best chance at a good salary.
The salary of tractor-trailer drivers, also known as heavy truckers, varies with the city they're based in. According to 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the cities paying the most to heavy truckers were Fairbanks, Alaska, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Danville, Illinois, which paid these workers $51,890, $52,410 and $53,710 per year, respectively. The cities that paid the least to heavy truckers were Johnson City, Tennessee, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Palm Coast, Florida. Employers in these cities paid salaries of $28,660, $28,980 and $29,060 on average.
Local delivery drivers, also known as light truckers, earned the most in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, and Redding, California, where employers paid them $40,000, $40,070 and $45,190. Light truckers might consider avoiding working in cities Sumter, South Carolina, Palm Coast, Florida, and Idaho Falls, Idaho, which paid the lowest salaries to these workers, $20,370, $21,240 and $21,590.
Heavy truckers can potentially earn more by working in states that have statistically paid high salaries. The top-paying U.S. states were New York, Nevada and Alaska. Truck employers in these States paid $44,010, $45,700 and $49,480 per year to heavy truckers. The states paying the least to heavy truckers were West Virginia, Idaho and Maine. Heavy truckers in these states can expect to earn $33,360, $33,400 and $33,610.
Light truckers can seek the top paying states among New Jersey, Maryland and Alaska, where they may earn salaries of $34,230, $35,810 and $36,170 per year. Working in West Virginia, Arkansas and Utah may earn them the lowest salaries of all states, $25,880, $26,240 and $26,520.
On a national level, heavy truckers earned on average $39,260 per year, while light truckers earned significantly less, $31,120, according to the BLS. People interested in becoming truckers can compare these figures against those of other jobs they're interested in. Doing so helps them evaluate whether trucking is the best choice for their careers.
The top paying industries for heavy truckers were the federal government, the postal service, and news publishers. Those employers paid $53,020, $53,010 and $52,100 per year. Lowest paying industries were family services, apparel manufacturers and water-based transportation companies. Those industries offered average salaries of $20,710, $22,050 and $26,520.
Light truckers may find top salaries with motion picture producers, the postal service and telecommunications carriers. The salaries they'll earn in those industries average $48,760, $50,850 and $50,870. Light truckers will find much lower salaries in religious organizations, sound recording companies and fitness centers. Salaries from those industries were $19,500, $19,560 and $19,660.
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