January marks first net job loss in nearly a year for transport sector

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 2/6/2015

Indicative of a slower season typical for this time of year, transportation jobs experienced a loss industry-wide for January. Truck transportation – the subsector – did record some minimal growth. The transportation sector lost 8,600 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Truck transportation subsector jobs received a relatively modest gain of 2,400 jobs, for a total of more than 1.4 million jobs. More than 7,000 truck transportation jobs were added in December. Trucking jobs gained the most in the transportation and warehousing sector, with most subsectors receiving losses or minimal gains. Couriers and messengers lost 14,100 jobs, the largest decline in the sector. In December, couriers and messengers received the second-largest gain with a scant 700 jobs.

January’s transportation job loss is a significant decrease from December, which saw a gain of nearly 3,100. November gained nearly 17,000 jobs. Last month is the first time since February 2014 that the transportation sector as a whole experienced a net loss. 

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $22.79 for January, down 7 cents from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 8 cents to $20.66. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries increased by 12 cents to $24.75. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.2 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 7.5 percent from 10.0 percent last January. The overall unemployment rate for the country made little change at 5.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed remained relatively stagnant for January, but has decreased by 828,000 in the past 12 months.

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