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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transportation Services Contributed 5.4% to U.S. GDP in 2020; a Decline from 5.9% in 2019

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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

Transportation services (for-hire, in-house, and household) contributed $1.2 trillion (5.4%) to an enhanced U.S. gross domestic product (GDP)1 of $21.3 trillion in 2020—as measured by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) Transportation Satellite Accounts (TSAs). The TSAs measure the full contribution of transportation to the economy from three types of transportation activities:

  • $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 non-transportation industries for their own purposes (known as in-house transportation), 
  • $0.4 trillion or 1.7% of 2020 GDP from transportation activities carried out 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 shows the contribution of transportation to GDP including the for-hire, in-house, and household contribution compared to other industries and sectors. By accounting for the in-house and household contribution, the overall transportation contribution doubled in value.

The contribution of transportation to enhanced-GDP fell from 5.9 percent in 2019 to 5.4 percent in 2020. The contribution of in-house air, rail, water, and truck transportation fell less (1.1% in 2019 to 1.0% in 2020, or 0.1 percentage points) than for-hire transportation for the same modes (1.7% in 2019 to 1.2% in 2020, or 0.4 percentage points). All other for-hire2  transportation’s share remained unchanged at 1.5%. Household transportation, contrastingly, contributed 0.1 percentage points more to the economy in 2020 than in 2019.

BTS released the TSAs with data for 2020 and revised years 2013 to 2019. BTS publishes several interactive visualizations highlighting the TSAs, including the Contribution of Transportation Services to the Economy and the Transportation Satellite Accounts, The Use of Transportation by Industry or Sector, and the Industry Snapshots

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

2All other for-hire transportation includes transit and passenger ground transportation (excluding state and local government passenger transit); sightseeing transportation and transportation support; parcel delivery, courier, and messenger services (excluding U.S. Postal Service); warehousing and storage; and other transportation and support activities.