Trucking suffers largest monthly job loss in nearly a year

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 9/1/2017

Transportation jobs overall scored a seventh consecutive month of job gains in August. The transport sector netted 1,900 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs were down significantly after a short-lived increase in July.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 11,600 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced a decrease of 1,600 jobs in August after the industry gained 400 in July and lost another 1,400 in June. August’s job loss was the largest decrease since September 2016, when the trucking subsector decreased by 3,600 jobs. 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. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011, when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Couriers and messengers experienced the largest increase for the second consecutive month with 3,900 more jobs, followed by “support activities for transportation” at 2,100. Transit/ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss, with 3,200 fewer jobs, trailed by trucking, with 1,600 jobs lost. Only four of 10 subsectors experienced gains, making couriers/messengers largely responsible for the transportation sector’s net increase.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $23.98 for August – a 5-cent increase from July and up 62 cents from August 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 8 cents to $21.41 from the previous month and a 50-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.39, 3 cents higher from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent, or 65 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations lowered significantly to 5.3 percent compared with 7.1 percent last August and down from 6.2 percent in July. The overall unemployment rate for the country experienced an uptick to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent the previous month. The number of long-term unemployed moved down, to 1.7 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

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