The year started off weak for transportation jobs as January marked the first net loss after three consecutive months of gains. The sector lost 4,000 jobs to the economy, including more than 1,000 fewer trucking jobs. Since 2007, transport jobs have experienced significant losses in January except in 2007, 2012 and 2014.
Kicking off the year, the trucking subsector starts 2017 at a net loss. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of approximately 1,400 jobs in January after the industry gained 1,400 in December and 1,100 in November. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.
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 couriers and messengers subsector experienced the largest decrease with 7,400 jobs eliminated from the economy, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 5,600. Warehousing and storage experienced the largest gain with 9,400 more jobs, trailed by air and pipeline transport with 1,000 jobs gained each.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.53 for January – a 5-cent increase from December. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 10 cents to $20.93. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.00, 3 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 down to 7.0 percent from 7.6 percent last January, but up from 6.1 percent in December. The overall unemployment rate for the country was up to 4.8 percent from 4.7 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed was up slightly at 1.9 million, accounting for approximately one-quarter of the unemployed.
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