Trucking lost 2,400 jobs in March, while the jobless rate crept up to 5% as more people entered the workforce, the Labor Department reported April 1.
The transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking, lost 2,500 positions, but the transit and ground passenger transportation job sector gained 3,400 jobs.
Overall payrolls rose 215,000 after a revised 245,000 February advance, and average hourly earnings increased 0.3% from a month earlier, Bloomberg News reported.
The drop in trucking jobs follows a 900 decline in February that was revised up from 600. Total transportation services and warehousing jobs fell by 6,500 last month.
“We’ve been through some rough patches, but we continue to generate a lot of jobs,” Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies in New York, who correctly forecast the gain in payrolls, told Bloomberg. “In a consumer-driven economy, that’s going to keep us headed in the right direction.”
Construction payroll growth accelerated in March, while manufacturing employment slumped by the most since December 2009. Other industries adding jobs included retail, health care, leisure and hospitality and professional services. Government hiring was the strongest since August, Bloomberg reported.
The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 205,000 advance in total employment, with estimates ranging from gains of 100,000 to 250,000 after a previously reported 242,000 February increase. Revisions to prior reports subtracted a total of 1,000 jobs to overall payrolls in the previous two months.