Transport sector experiences first monthly job loss since January 2017

August 3, 2018

Tyson Fisher


Transportation jobs experienced a net decline in July, the first decrease since January 2017. The transport sector lost more than 1,000 jobs, due largely to a significant decrease in transit/ground passenger transport jobs. However, trucking jobs experienced an increase.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 4,400 jobs in July after the industry gained 2,000 in June and 3,200 in May. April’s loss of 5,900 jobs was the largest since October 2009, when 6,200 trucking jobs were lost. Numbers for July and June are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months. So far, trucking jobs are up 20,600 for the year.

Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest decrease in the sector with nearly 15,000 jobs lost, followed by “support activities for transportation” with 3,200 fewer jobs. Couriers and messengers have the largest increase with 7,600 additional jobs, followed by trucking.

In 2017, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 3 million jobs. In every month except January there was a job increase compared to the previous month. September accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 25,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 9,400 jobs in 2017.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.34 for July – a 2-cent increase from June. Earnings were up 45 cents from July 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up 3 cents to $21.84 from the previous month and up 53 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.05, a 7-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.7 percent, or 71 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped significantly to 4.5 percent, compared with 6.2 percent in July 2017, and down from 5 percent in June. The overall unemployment dropped 0.1 percentage points to 3.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed decreased by approximately 100,000 to 1.4 million, accounting for 22.7 percent of the unemployed. The spike in the long-term unemployed is the largest monthly increase since March 2010 when the number rose by more than 400,000 from the previous month.