Transportation services contributed 5.4% to US GDP in 2020; a Down from 5.9% in 2019

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Transportation contributed $1.2 trillion (5.4%) to the economy in 2020

Transportation services (for rental, internal and household) contributed $1.2 trillion (5.4%) to the improvement in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States.1 $21.3 trillion in 2020, as measured by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Transportation Satellite Accounts (TSA). The TSAs measure the full contribution of transport to the economy based on three types of transport activity:

  • $0.6 trillion or 2.7% of 2020 GDP from for-hire transportation,
  • $0.2 trillion or 1.0% of 2020 GDP from transportation activities carried out by industries other than transportation for their own purposes (known as internal transportation),
  • $0.4 trillion or 1.7% of 2020 GDP from transportation activities performed by households using personal motor vehicles.

All producers rely on transportation to acquire the raw materials needed to produce and deliver their products to businesses and households. The following table shows the contribution of transportation to GDP, including the contribution of for-hire, internal, and household transportation, relative to other industries and sectors. Taking into account the internal and household contribution, the overall transport contribution doubled in value.

The contribution of transport to the improvement in GDP fell from 5.9% in 2019 to 5.4% in 2020. The contribution of internal transport by air, rail, water and truck decreased less (1.1% in 2019 to 1.0% in 2020, or 0.1 percentage points) than for-hire transport for the same modes (1.7% in 2019 to 1.2% in 2020, or 0.4 percentage points ). All others for hire2 the transport share remained unchanged at 1.5%. Household transport, on the other hand, contributed 0.1 percentage point more to the economy in 2020 than in 2019.

BTS has released the TSAs with data for 2020 and the revised years from 2013 to 2019. BTS releases several interactive visualizations highlighting the TSAs, including the contribution of transport services to the economy and the transport satellite accounts, the transportation use by industry or sector, and the Industry Overviews.

1Enhanced GDP is the sum of GDP published in the US National Accounts by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the contribution of household transportation.

2All other for-hire transportation includes public transit and ground passenger transportation (excluding state and local government passenger transit); tourist transport and transport assistance; package delivery, courier and courier services (excluding the US Postal Service); warehousing and storage; and other transport and support activities.

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