December marked the third consecutive positive month for transportation jobs as the sector added nearly 15,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 1,000 trucking jobs.
The overall transportation sector gained 14,700 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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 truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of approximately 1,400 jobs in December after the industry gained 1,100 in November and 3,000 in October. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.
In 2015, the trucking industry suffered a loss in only two out of 12 months. Nearly 7,000 trucking jobs were eliminated last March and 4,000 eliminated in September. May’s increase of nearly 9,000 jobs was the largest in 2015 for the trucking subsector.
The couriers and messengers subsector experienced the largest increase with 11,700 jobs added to the economy, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 3,800. “Transit and ground passenger transportation” experienced the largest loss with 4,700 fewer jobs, trailed by rail transport with 200 jobs lost, the only two subsectors to experience a decrease in December.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.60 for December – a 6-cent increase from November. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced a significant decrease of 25 cents to $20.71. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26, 10 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.9 percent.
According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations is down to 6.1 percent from 6.2 percent last December, but up from 5.7 percent in November. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent after two consecutive months of decreases. Over the past five years, the unemployment rate each month has either declined or gone relatively unchanged. The number of long-term unemployed was down slightly at 1.8 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.
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