April 16, 2024

Trucking jobs rebound after big hit in August

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Trucking jobs rebounded in September after experiencing their largest monthly drop since the pandemic first hit in early 2020 the previous month.

According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 9,000 trucking jobs were added to the economy in September. This marks the largest increase since May 2022, when more than 12,000 jobs were added.

Revised numbers show a decrease of more than 25,000 trucking jobs in August (compared to the initially reported loss of 36,700) and a decrease of nearly 7,000 jobs in July (compared to the initially reported loss of 3,500).

David Spencer, vice president of market intelligence at Arrive Logistics, told Land Line that although there was job growth in September, it may not be a sign of good things to come.

“While there may be some noise in the month-to-month trends, trucking conditions remain challenging and looking forward I expect it to get worse before it gets better in terms of trucking conditions and employment levels,” he said. “Large quantities of drivers entered the market when there was money to be made in the spot market, and balance must be restored before conditions can improve. Unfortunately, that means a likely continuation of driver exits from trucking for at least the next 9-12 months.”

Year to date, trucking jobs are down by nearly 23,000. Last year, they went up by nearly 61,000.

Accounting for all transportation sector jobs, employment is up by nearly 9,000 jobs. Transportation jobs have dropped five times this year. Since the pandemic, they have dropped only twice before: in April 2021 (minus 12,900 jobs) and in November 2022 (minus 37,100).

Trucking experienced the largest monthly increase, followed by air transportation (4,900) and support activities for transportation (1,800). Only three subsectors experienced a decrease: transit/ground passenger transport (minus 5,100), warehousing/storage (minus 3,800) and water transportation (minus 100).

Based on revised numbers, employment in the transportation sector dropped by nearly 19,000 jobs in August, down from the initially reported 34,200. July’s revised numbers show a decrease of nearly 7,000 jobs, down from the initially reported decrease of 10,000.

Year to date, transportation employment is down by 2,500 jobs. For 2022 overall, transportation employment increased by nearly 261,000 jobs.

Month to month, wages increased in September. Average weekly earnings of all employees in the transportation and warehousing sector increased by $1.67 to $1,124.49. Compared to September 2022, hourly earnings are up to $29.36 from $28.12. Accounting for only production and nonsupervisory employees, average weekly earnings decreased from $1,051.30 in August to $1,050.54. Weekly earnings are up $1.56 to $27.94 compared to last September.

Across all industries, 336,000 jobs were added to the economy. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%. Compared to the previous year, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations increased to 6.1% from 4.8 %.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index has jumped by 3.7% over the past 12 months. The 0.6% monthly increase in August was broad-based, with the indexes for shelter, gasoline and food being the largest contributors. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3%, up 4.3% over the year. LL

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