Net transportation jobs increased only slightly in December after four consecutive large increases. The transport sector gained more than 2,000 jobs, weighed down by large losses in the couriers subsector and propped up by relatively large gains in the trucking subsector.
The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 2,900 jobs in December after the industry gained more than 4,000 in November and more than 1,000 in October. Trucking jobs ended the year with a net increase of more than 36,000 jobs. Numbers for December and November are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months.
Truck transportation experienced the largest increase in the sector, followed by warehousing/storage and “support activities” with 1,700 more jobs each. Trucking was close behind with 4,500 more jobs. Although only three subsectors experienced a loss, the more than 5,000 jobs lost in the couriers/messengers subsector limited the sector net gain. The other two losses came from the transit/ground passenger and pipeline subsectors, each losing 200 jobs.
For the year, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of nearly 190,000 jobs, up from 2017’s net increase of nearly 135,000 jobs. Compared to the previous month, there was a net increase in jobs in every month in 2018. November accounted for the largest one-month increase, with 29,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 36,600 jobs in 2018, significantly higher than 2017’s net increase of 9,400 jobs.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector was $24.40 for December – unchanged from November. Earnings were up 18 cents from December 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up 12 cents to $22.14 from the previous month and up 60 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.48, an 11-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3.2 percent, or 84 cents.
According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped significantly to 4.4 percent, compared with 5.1 percent in December 2017. However, the rate increased slightly from 4 percent in November. Overall unemployment increased 0.2 percentage points to 3.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was mostly unchanged at 1.3 million, accounting for 20.5 percent of the unemployed.
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