facebook app skip to content
Primary navigation

Transportation and Warehousing in Southeast Minnesota

by Mark Schultz
August 2015

Where Are We Now?

Transportation and Warehousing is a part of the broader industry category of Trade, Transportation, and Utilities. DEED's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) shows that this broader category is responsible for 42,373 jobs in 2,969 establishments. Of those, 7,508 (17.7 percent) of the jobs are in Transportation and Warehousing spread among 584 establishments. Total wages paid in Transportation and Warehousing totaled almost 290 million dollars - just under 20 percent of the total wages paid in the broader Trade, Transportation, and Utilities industry. Average weekly wages for Transportation and Warehousing were at $738, which is 11 percent higher than the average weekly wages in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities.

In Southeast Minnesota the most significant subsectors of Transportation and Warehousing are Truck Transportation, both general and specialized freight, and Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation which includes urban transit, taxi and limousine transportation, and bus transportation. Warehouse and Storage, Support activities, and Air and Water Transportation are also present in Southeast Minnesota but are not as important to the economy (see Table 1).

Table 1: Significant Transportation and Warehousing Industries in SE Minnesota, 2014
Industry Employment Average Wages Percent of Industry Employment
Truck Transportation 2744 834 36.6
Transit and Ground Transportation 2108 394 28.1
Warehousing and Storage 925 901 12.3
Support Activities for Transportation 286 732 3.8
Source: DEED's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)

As seen in Figure 1, impressive growth occurred in the number of jobs in the Transportation and Warehousing industry compared to those across all industries. Both show a decline during the recession years, hitting the lowest number of jobs in 2010 followed by a steady increase from 2011 to 2014. But overall, from 2007 to 2014 jobs in Transportation and Warehousing increased by 651 or 9.5 percent while overall jobs increased by 1325 or 0.6 percent.

Line graph-Figure 1: Employment Trends in Southeast Minnesota

Specific occupations within Transportation and Warehousing and their wages are shown in Table ranked by employment. Individuals seeking employment because they are unemployed or looking for a new job, should see Transportation as a viable option because of a wide range of occupations and employment numbers in jobs such as laborer and material moving, stockrooms, and driving jobs such as heavy and tractor trailer truck driving and school bus drivers. The low numbers in the jobs towards the bottom of the table should not be discouraging to job seekers, but rather serve as a reason to get any additional training and/or experience to make them competitive when openings occur. For example, there are only seven locks and dams on the Mississippi in the Southeast MN - Southwest WI border, which could be reason for such few workers in this occupation.

Table 2: Employment and Wages for Transportation and Warehousing Occupations in SE Minnesota, First Quarter 2015
Occupation Employment Entry Level Wages Median Wages Aspiration Wages
Laborers and Freight, Stock and Material Movers, Hand 3,620 $9.69 $13.51 $18.72
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 3,420 $8.19 $11.06 $18.97
Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor Trailer 3,330 $13.94 $20.30 $29.53
Bus Drivers, School 1,700 $9.18 $15.28 $22.60
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 1,330 $11.22 $15.98 $22.30
Shipping, Receiving and Traffic Clerks 1,170 $9.74 $15.09 $21.90
Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment 970 $8.25 $11.06 $17.20
Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery Services 840 $8.67 $13.40 $28.15
Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs 610 $8.04 $10.81 $17.56
Production, Planning and Expediting Clerks 380 $15.00 $20.49 $32.79
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Helpers, Laborers and Material Movers, Hand 310 $16.22 $24.54 $31.94
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Transportation and Material-Moving Machine and Vehicle Operators 240 $15.42 $23.67 $36.49
Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity 200 $8.25 $14.36 $21.20
Driver/Sales Workers 180 $7.89 $9.23 $18.83
Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, Samplers and Recordkeeping 130 $11.65 $16.38 $22.14
Service Station Attendants 120 $8.07 $10.30 $14.53
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors 90 $9.22 $15.98 $22.28
Parking Lot Attendants 80 $8.02 $9.41 $17.47
Cargo and Freight Agents 40 $12.44 $20.05 $33.28
Bridge and Lock Tenders 20 $22.91 $27.35 $29.50
Transportation Workers, All Other 20 $8.83 $11.17 $14.21
Source: DEED's Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

As of the fourth quarter of 2014 there were 287 job vacancies in the Transportation and Material Moving occupation with 249 of these motor vehicle operators. Of those, 50 percent are part-time while none are temporary or seasonal. Additionally, 14 percent require post-secondary education, 20 percent require one or more years' experience, and 85 percent require a certificate or license. There are many schools that offer programs in transportation. For example, Southeast Minnesota has institutions in which students can earn their certificate in truck driving including Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical (Winona and Red Wing) and Riverland Community College (Albert Lea, Austin, and Owatonna).

Table 3 includes vacancy data on material recording, scheduling, and dispatching occupations, which would include warehousing positions. Unlike the transportation jobs, fewer of the vacancies in warehousing are part-time, and more are temporary or seasonal. Some require post-secondary education but very few require experience. Virtually all motor vehicle operators must have a certificate or license.

Table 3: Fourth Quarter 2014 Vacancies, Motor Vehicle Operators in SE Minnesota
Occupation # of Job Vacancies Part-Time Temporary or Seasonal Requiring Post-Secondary Education Requiring 1+ Years' Experience Requiring Certificate or License Median Wages
Motor Vehicle Operators 249 50% 0% 16% 20% 95% $11.85
Bus Drivers, School or Special Client 64 98% 0% 4% 26% 100% $12.01
Light Truck or Delivery Service Drivers 74 69% 0% 24% 21% 100% $10.53
Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers 106 4% 0% 17% 16% 87% $9.25
Material Moving Occupations 30 25% 8% 0% 2% 9% $11.16
Material Recording, Scheduling and Dispatching Workers 207 39% 10% 18% 4% 7% $10.47
Source: DEED's job Vacancy Survey

While Transportation and Warehousing is not a defining industry in Southeast Minnesota, it has the fifth highest number of job vacancies, double the previous high number of vacancies. There are many part-time vacancies in Transportation and Warehousing that may provide individuals, such as primary parents with children or college students, with opportunities that will let them earn income and have flexibility in their work hours to fit their schedules. Additionally these part-time jobs, such as bus driving, delivery truck driving, and warehousing, can also supply supplemental income for those who need to work two jobs, such as individuals trying to pay off bills or graduates with heavy school loans.

Where Are We Headed?

Projections show that the Transportation and Material Moving occupation is forecast to show an increase in openings. Table 4 shows that between 2012 and 2022 projected job openings in Transportation and Warehousing will see an increase ranging from two to 391. Despite this, six of those occupations are projected to see a decrease, including a drop of 137 jobs as stock clerks and order fillers and a decrease of 64 industrial truck and tractor operators. Two possible reasons for this are advancements in technology making a human obsolete and/or that individuals are being cross-trained to do multiple tasks that include those characteristic of the six jobs that are projected to see a decline.

Table 4: Employment Projections for Transportation and Warehousing in SE Minnesota
Title Estimate Year Employment Projected Year Employment Percent Change Total Change Replacement Hires Total Hires
Cargo and Freight Agents 17 19 11.8 2 0 0
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks 365 364 -0.3 -1 90 90
Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks 1004 1000 -0.4 -4 260 260
Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 2835 2698 -4.8 -137 860 860
Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, Samplers and Recorders 102 109 6.9 7 20 30
First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and M 205 214 4.4 9 60 70
Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, 3315 3519 6.2 204 1030 1230
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors 195 221 13.3 26 40 70
Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs 577 650 12.7 73 70 140
Other Transportation Workers 282 298 5.7 16 100 130
Bridge and Lock Tenders 37 29 -21.6 -8 20 20
Parking Lot Attendants 66 71 7.6 5 30 30
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 1134 1070 -5.6 -64 260 260
Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment 990 1054 6.5 64 280 340
First-Line Supervisors of Transportation and Material Movers 256 266 3.9 10 70 80
Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity 465 484 4.1 19 80 100
Bus Drivers, School or Special Client 1074 1083 0.8 9 200 210
Driver/Sales Workers 650 659 1.4 9 100 110
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 3935 4326 9.9 391 630 1020
Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers 1246 1224 -1.8 -22 200 200
Source: DEED's Employment Outlook

Although there are declines, all but cargo and freight agents are expected to see positive total hires from the need for new work force participants to replace those who have permanently left the occupation, known as replacement hires. As seen in the last two columns in Table 4 as well as in Figure 2, replacement hires are projected to range from none in cargo and freight agents to 1,030 in laborers and freight, stock and material movers. While some of the occupations are expected to see all of the total hires from replacement hires, many will see an increase in employment. In fact, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers have the highest total change with 391 - not surprising since truck driving is a high demand occupation according to DEED's Occupations in Demand (OID) data tool. Another occupation in the list below that is in high demand is stock clerks and order fillers.

Figure 2


Transportation and Warehousing occupations are doing very well in Southeast Minnesota. Employment has seen steady growth since 2010, and six occupations have more than 1,000 employees. Median wages in Transportation and Materials Moving occupations are $15.25, compared to entry-level wages which are between $9.00 and $11.00. Transportation and Warehousing is going to stay strong. After all, there will always be a public and private need for goods and services, including a place to store them and means to transport them, as well as a need for transportation for residents of Southeast Minnesota.

back to top