Trucking experiences largest job growth in nearly four years

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Friday, March 10, 2017

After a bad start to the year, employment in the transportation sector and trucking subsector quickly rebounded in February. The transport sector added nearly 9,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 10,000 trucking jobs. Trucking’s employment surge is the largest since April 2013 when the subsector grew by 11,700 jobs.

In the first two months, the trucking subsector started 2017 at a net gain of 9,200 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 10,600 jobs in February after the industry lost 1,400 in January and gained 1,400 in December. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. In January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The trucking subsector experienced the largest increase by a wide margin, followed by transit and ground passenger transportation at 1,400. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest loss with 1,500 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 1,100 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making trucking largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.59 for February – a 4-cent increase from January. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 8 cents to $21.04. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.09, 6 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.8 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.3 percent from 6.6 percent last February, and up from 7 percent in January. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.8 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

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