For the 15th consecutive month, transportation jobs overall scored gains in April, but just barely. The transport sector netted only 400 jobs to the economy, the lowest increase since the last monthly loss in January 2017. Trucking jobs experienced its highest monthly decrease since October 2015 after experiencing two consecutive month of three-year-high increases.
The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 5,500 jobs in April after the industry gained 7,200 in March and 3,000 in February. This marks the highest monthly employment decrease since October 2015, when 5,700 trucking jobs were lost. Numbers for April and March are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months.
Couriers and messengers experienced the largest increase with 6,300 more jobs, closely followed by warehousing and storage at 6,000 additional jobs. Trucking experienced the largest loss in April.
In 2017, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 3 million jobs. In every month except January there was a job increase compared to the previous month. September accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 25,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 9,400 jobs in 2017.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.26 for April – a 4-cent decrease from March but up 63 cents from April 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 4 cents to $21.76 from the previous month and a 63-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.84, a 4-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.6 percent, or 67 cents.
According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped significantly to 4.4 percent, compared with 5.7 percent in April 2017, and down from 5.2 percent in March. The overall unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent after staying stagnant at 4.1 percent for six months. The number of long-term unemployed remained at 1.3 million, accounting for 20 percent of the unemployed.
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