Trucking Drops 1,400 Jobs in June After Shedding 700 in May

Trucking Drops 1,400 Jobs in June
Texas Lars Plougmann/Flickr

The nation’s for-hire trucking companies decreased their payrolls by 1,400 people in June, even as total U.S. employment increased by 222,000 positions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported July 7.

The national unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 point from May to 4.4% in June, although the labor force participation rate increased by the same 0.1 point to 62.8%.

The June loss follows a dip in May of 700 positions. Trucking employed 1.47 million people in June.

Year to date, for-hire trucking employment is up 1.4% compared with the first half of 2016, according to an American Trucking Associations report.

Rodrigo Suarez, an ATA economic analyst, told Transport Topics that it’s not possible to predict what will happen next month.

“As we have been saying the last couple months, we aren’t expecting as big gains — the economy and trucking are approaching a more ‘full employment’ scenario. … The job gains should taper off. June was particularly strong, but one month does not make a trend, and we’re simply too close to full employment to consistently have these large gains,” Suarez said.

Transportation and warehousing added many fewer jobs in June, 2,400, compared with the 11,600 gain the previous month.

Within transportation-warehousing, the biggest gain was for couriers and messengers with 4,200 more jobs in June. Rail and water transportation posted small losses, while air transport had a modest gain.

Among June’s overall nonfarm payroll improvement, gains were peppered across many industries, including health care, professional services and the food service industry. Notably, mining added 8,000 jobs in June, giving that sector 56,000 new jobs since October 2016.

While trucking was less robust than some industries, Suarez cautioned that it’s not cause for alarm.

“It’s obvious we like to see the positive numbers for trucking, but it’s only been a couple months of drops, nothing to worry about yet — so it’s just par for the course now. These numbers are subject to pretty drastic revisions. For all we know, that number could get revised up significantly — or it could not change at all.”

Construction added 16,000 slots in June for a total of 6.9 million employees. Construction firms are big customers of trucking services, but they also compete with trucking companies for labor.

Manufacturing added just 1,000 employees for the month for a total of 12.4 million workers.