After a strong month in February, March followed with another positive month for transportation jobs. The transport sector netted 3,500 jobs to the economy, including nearly 5,000 trucking jobs. February’s employment surge was the largest since April 2013 when the subsector grew by 11,700 jobs.
So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 13,900 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 4,700 jobs in March after the industry gained 10,600 in February and lost 1,400 in January. 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 for the second consecutive month, followed by air transportation at 2,000. Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss with 2,300 fewer jobs, trailed by couriers and messengers with 1,200 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making trucking and air largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.67 for March – a 9-cent increase from February. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 11 cents to $21.14. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.14, 5 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.7 percent.
According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is unchanged at 6.2 percent compared with last March, but significantly down from 7.3 percent in February. The overall unemployment rate for the country was down to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent the previous month, the lowest in nearly a decade. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.7 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.