Department of Labor: Truck sector keeps adding jobs

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 2/5/2016

After experiencing the largest job gain in more than two years in December, the transportation industry in January lost more jobs in a single month than in any month during the past five years. Jobs for truckers continue to grow.

The overall transportation sector lost more than 20,000 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the largest decrease since January 2011 when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of more than 1,000 jobs after the industry gained more than 5,000 in December and more than 2,000 in November. Truck and pipeline transportation were the only sectors with a job increase. Approximately 100 jobs were added in the pipeline subsector. Couriers and messengers took a huge hit with a job loss of more than 14,000.

Last year, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. December’s increase of more than 23,000 jobs was the largest in 2015.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.14 for January, a 7-cent increase from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 7 cents to $20.95. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $25.39, 12 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is up to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent last January. The overall unemployment rate for the country was dropped slightly from 5 to 4.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged compared with the previous month at 2.1 million. However, that number has decreased by 687,000 in the past 12 months.

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