The US is a delivery nation. The rise of e-commerce means more purchases are brought right to people’s doorstep than ever before, both at work and at home.
The increase in online purchasing has led to an explosion in the number of people whose job involves delivery. From January 2018 to January 2020, the number of workers in the “courier and messenger” industry jumped from 690,000 to 850,000, according to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the fastest rate of growth of employment in any industry over the past two years among the 88 industries with over 500,000 employees as of 2020.
The US government defines the “courier and messenger” industry as companies involved in picking up and delivering goods that can be held by an individual without special equipment. A large share of the people in this sector work for shipping companies like Fedex and DHL. There is also a growing number that do last-mile delivery for Amazon fulfillment centers.
Generally, these are not high-paying jobs. The hourly median wage for a courier in 2018 was about $13.80, compared to the $18.60 national average.
The rise of delivery jobs is part of a broader boom in logistics jobs that support e-commerce. Positions in warehousing are also up almost 9% over the last two years, and the number working in trucking is up 4%. At the same time, 1% fewer people now work in retail, even as the overall workforce is growing.