Transport jobs post second-largest increase on record
December 8, 2020
Transportation jobs experienced its second-largest monthly increase on record, continuing a growth streak.
The transport sector gained 145,000 jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks the sixth consecutive monthly increase after four consecutive decreases, including a historic monthly drop in April. The increase is the largest since September 1997, when transportation employment went up nearly 180,000. That was the result of 185,000 United Parcel Services Teamster drivers walking off the job the previous month.
Trucking jobs also went up significantly, with a gain of nearly 13,000 after an increase of more than 7,000 trucking jobs in October. This marks the seventh consecutive monthly increase in trucking jobs and the ninth monthly increase this year. November’s increase is the largest since April 2013, when trucking experienced an increase of nearly 16,000 jobs.
April’s trucking job loss was the largest since the bureau began tracking the subsector in 1990. At a distant second, nearly 50,000 trucking jobs were eliminated in April 1994. That was likely the result of about 80,000 Teamsters going on strike after negotiations with Truck Management Inc. failed.
Employment numbers for November and October are preliminary.
Couriers/messengers employment experienced the largest increase with nearly 82,000 additional jobs in the economy. Coming in second was warehousing/storage transport (36,800), followed by trucking. Only two subsectors experienced a monthly decrease in employment. Rail and pipeline transport experienced a modest job loss of 200 each.
The trucking subsector had a net gain of more than 4,000 jobs last year, a far cry from the nearly 55,000 job increase in 2018. However, the employment situation last year is better than 2016’s loss of 4,000 jobs.
To date, trucking employment is down 55,400 jobs due to April’s downward spiral.
The transportation sector had a net gain of more than 118,000 jobs in 2019. Last year was the slowest year for growth since 2013, when transportation employment increased by only 77,500 for the year.
So far, transportation jobs are down 102,600 for the year. This is an improvement from the more than 400,000 workers lost year to date in July. In April alone, the sector lost nearly 560,000 workers.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $25.61 for November – a 6-cent increase from the previous month. Earnings were up by 76 cents from November 2019.
Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory jobs dropped by 4 cents to $22.90 from the previous month, but an increase of 42 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $29.58, a 9-cent increase from the previous month.
According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations went down to 9.3% compared to October’s rate of 10%. At this time last year, the unemployment rate in the transport sector was sitting at 4.4%.
Overall unemployment fell slightly to 6.7%, with 245,000 jobs added to the economy as a whole. In October, unemployment hit 6.9%. The unemployment rate has been falling for seven consecutive months after hitting a record high of nearly 15% in April. The jobless rate is still up 3.4 percentage points from February, just before the implementation of stay-at-home orders. However, unemployment has fallen 8 percentage points since April.
Data collection for the employment survey has been affected by the pandemic. However, deviations in the unemployment rate derived from misclassified workers is statistically insignificant. For more details about those changes, click here. LL