September 4, 2015 9:00 AM, EDT

Trucking Adds 700 Jobs in August; America Considered Fully Employed

The trucking industry added 700 jobs in August as the unemployment rate declined to 5.1%, a level that is considered full employment, the Labor Department reported Sept. 4.

The transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking, added 7,300 positions.

The 173,000 overall increase in employment followed a 215,000 rise the prior month. The unemployment rate is at the lowest level since April 2008, Bloomberg News reported.

The rise in trucking jobs follows a 2,700 increase in July that revised down by 100 jobs. In July the transportation and warehousing sector added 13,600 positions.

Factory payrolls declined by 17,000, the largest dip since July 2013.

The Federal Reserve considers a 5.1% unemployment rate to be full employment. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 217,000 increase.

“The labor market is clearly still improving,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York, told Bloomberg. “Employment growth is more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate coming down, just given the rate of growth in the labor force.”

Hiring at local government, especially in education, helped job gains in August, and employment also increased in the leisure and hospitality sector as well as in health services.