Trucking jobs took another hit in October, keeping employment growth in the industry in the red for the year.
According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,000 trucking jobs were eliminated from the economy in October. This marks the fifth loss for the year as the trucking industry continues to move toward a yearly decline.
David Spencer, vice president of market intelligence at Arrive Logistics, told Land Line that although seasonally adjusted numbers show a loss of 5,000 trucking jobs, non-seasonally adjusted numbers reveal that trucking employment was flat in October.
“This indicates that carriers who are involved with supporting the retail peak season or other seasonal demand, such as food or Christmas trees, may have taken a step back this year from the normal hiring ramp-up and are comfortable handling the seasonal demand surges with the staffing already in place,” he said. “In my eyes, the report shows relative stability for trucking employment amid a faltering-demand environment, or at least expectations for a slower-than-normal peak season. This could be a sign that if seasonal demand outperforms expectations, that we could see greater rate volatility due to a more-constrained-than-usual supply side.”
Spencer said he expects the downward trend to continue into 2024. He pointed out that large quantities of drivers entered the industry when rates were high in the spot market and that balance must be restored before conditions can improve.
Revised numbers show an increase of more than 13,000 trucking jobs in September (compared to the initially reported gain of 8,800) and a decrease of nearly 31,000 jobs in August (compared to the initially reported loss of 25,200).
Year to date, trucking jobs are down by 28,500. Last year, they went up by nearly 61,000.
Accounting for all transportation sector jobs, employment is down by more than 12,000 jobs. Transportation jobs have dropped six times this year. Since the pandemic, they have dropped only twice before: in April 2021 (minus 12,900 jobs) and in November 2022 (minus 37,100).
Warehousing/storage experienced the largest monthly decrease (minus 11,400), followed by trucking and support activities for transportation (minus 1,400). Only three subsectors experienced an increase: air transport (3,500), couriers/messengers (2,600) and water transportation (1,200).
Based on revised numbers, employment in the transportation sector rose by 12,500 jobs in September, up from the initially reported 8,600. August’s revised numbers show a decrease of nearly 27,000 jobs, up from the initially reported decrease of 18,900.
Year to date, transportation employment is down by 18,700 jobs. For 2022 overall, transportation employment increased by nearly 261,000 jobs.
Month to month, wages increased in October. Average weekly earnings of all employees in the transportation and warehousing sector increased by $1.64 to $1,129.96. Compared to October 2022, hourly earnings are up to $29.58 from $28.14. Accounting for only production and nonsupervisory employees, average weekly earnings increased from $1,056.38 in September to $1,064.46. Weekly earnings are up $1.90 to $28.31 compared to last October.
Across all industries, 150,000 jobs were added to the economy. The unemployment rate went up slightly to 3.9%. Compared to the previous year, the unemployment rate for transportation and material moving occupations increased to 5.3% from 4.7 %.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index has jumped by 3.7% over the past 12 months. The 0.4% monthly increase in September was broad-based, with the indexes for shelter, gasoline and food being the largest contributors. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3%, up 4.1% over the year. LL