Trucking jobs experience largest surge in nearly a decade

May 6, 2022

Tyson Fisher

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After suffering the first monthly loss in two years, trucking jobs are experiencing the largest one-month surge in nearly a decade.

According to the latest employment data from the federal government, there are 13,000 more trucking jobs in the U.S. than there were in March. That is the largest monthly increase since April 2013, when trucking employment rose by nearly 16,000 jobs.

In March, the industry lost nearly 6,000 trucking jobs, according to revised numbers. Initially, the Department of Labor calculated a loss of nearly 5,000 jobs. Employment numbers for April and March are still preliminary.

What can be gleaned from this data? It may be too soon to draw any real conclusions from the latest trucking jobs numbers.

First, numbers are preliminary, so the narrative may change in a month. With so much volatility with trucking jobs and employment in general, significant corrections are not uncommon.

Second, the current labor market may have caused delays in the standard hiring processes, according to Aaron Terrazas, director of economic research for digital freight network company Convoy.

“I suspect it’s mostly skewed seasonality. Recruiting and onboarding are taking longer in the tight labor market, and carriers are probably trying to get ahead on preparations for peak summer demand,” Terrazas told Land Line. “So the combination of the two probably pushed some of the onboarding that would normally have taken place in February or March into April, and perhaps pulled forward some normal May hiring.”

Terrazas said that taking the average of March and April may paint a clearer picture of situation.

Trucking jobs for March and April experienced an average increase of more than 9,000 jobs.

To read Terrazas full analysis on trucking jobs, click here.

trucking jobs chart
Monthly changes in trucking employment, 2013-present. Large monthly increases typically follow large decreases as the labor market corrects itself after unseasonal swings.

Employment throughout the transportation sector as a whole grew by 52,000 jobs in April. March was a bad month for the sector, with a minor gain of 9,500 jobs. Subsectors with the largest job increases are warehousing/storage (17,000 jobs), couriers/messengers (15,000 jobs). and trucking.

Scenic/sightseeing transportation experienced the only monthly drop with 1,000 fewer jobs in April. There was little or no change in employment for rail, water and pipeline transportation.

Unemployment in the transportation sector dropped slightly to 6.1% from 6.4% in March. This time last year, the unemployment rate in the sector was nearly 9%.

Across all industries, unemployment remains stagnant at 3.6% with an addition of more than 400,000 jobs to the economy. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 10 cents to $27.12. LL

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Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.