Trucking jobs for the year back in black in October after losing streak

November 5, 2019

Tyson Fisher


Jobs in the transportation sector in October increased for the second consecutive month, as only two of 10 subsectors experienced a monthly job loss. The trucking subsector had a better month compared with September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The transport sector gained nearly 10,000 jobs, with gains in seven of the 10 subsectors. Two subsectors experienced losses, while pipeline transport reported no change.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a gain of 1,300 jobs in October after suffering three consecutive losses, including 4,300 in September, 4,000 in August and 300 in July. The last time trucking jobs decreased for three consecutive months was in 2016 during a six-month streak from February through July.

Year-to-date, trucking has a net gain of 2,000 jobs, back in black after hitting the red in September. This time last year, trucking jobs were up 34,500 for the year. Transport employment is at a net increase of 60,500.

Numbers for October and September are preliminary.

Air transport experienced the largest increase with 3,000 more jobs added to the economy, followed by couriers/messengers (2,400) and support activities for transportation (1,800). Rail and water transport experienced the only losses in the transport sector at 300 and 100, respectively.

In 2018, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 200,000 jobs, up from 2017’s net increase of more than 185,000. Compared to the previous month, there was a net increase in jobs in every month in 2018 except December. February accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 28,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 43,800 jobs in 2018, significantly higher than 2017’s net increase of 16,100.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.99 for October – unchanged from September. Earnings were up 57 cents from October 2018.

Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory jobs decreased by 6 cents to $22.50 from the previous month and up 51 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $28.18, a 6-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3%.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped to 3.9% compared with September’s rate of 4.4%. This time last year, the unemployment rate in the transport sector was significantly higher at 4.8%. Overall unemployment increased slightly by 0.1 percentage points to 3.6%.