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June 5, 2015 9:00 AM, EDT

Trucking Adds 8,600 Jobs in May; US Payrolls Rise by 280,000

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Trucking added 8,600 jobs in May, up substantially from April, and U.S. employers added 280,000 workers to payrolls, the Labor Department reported June 5.

The unemployment rate rose a notch to 5.5% from the previous month’s 5.4%, which had been the lowest since May 2008, as more workers entered the workforce.

“The May jobs report for both trucking and the overall economy was very good and fits with my thesis that the economy will gain momentum for a good second half of the year,” Bob Costello, chief economist for American Trucking Associations, told Transport Topics.

Trucking’s increase followed a 1,700 April gain that was slightly lower than originally reported.

Employment in the transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking, jumped by 13,100, after April’s 10,700 increase.

The 280,000 overall jobs gain topped the median 226,000 increase forecast by analysts, Bloomberg News reported. April’s jobs gain was revised slightly lower to 221,000.

Manufacturing added 7,000 jobs in May after April’s 1,000 increase, and construction jobs jumped by 17,000 after a 35,000 gain.

May employment rose at automakers, local governments, retailers and temporary-help agencies. Restaurants, hotels and builders also boosted headcounts in May, Labor said.

“This only reinforces the view that the economy is a lot healthier than the GDP data imply,” Joe LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, told Bloomberg. “I’m pretty confident the unemployment rate will go back down again soon.”

First-quarter GDP contracted at an annualized 0.7% rate, the Commerce Department reported May 29.