Trucking jobs up slightly in February

March 8, 2019

Tyson Fisher


Net transportation jobs fell in February, the largest monthly drop since January 2017. The transport sector lost 3,000 jobs, largely because of plummeting courier/messenger jobs.

The truck transportation subsector experienced a modest increase of nearly 1,000 jobs in February after the industry gained more than 5,000 jobs in January and more than 3,000 in December. February marked the smallest increase since the trucking subsector lost 5,000 jobs in April 2018. Numbers for February and January are preliminary.

Warehousing and storage experienced the largest increase in the sector for the second consecutive month with nearly 4,000 additional jobs, followed by transit/ground passenger transport at 2,400 and air transportation with the third most at 2,100 more jobs. Couriers/messengers subsector experienced a significant decrease with nearly 10,000 fewer jobs in February, with scenic/sightseeing transport at a distant second with a decrease of nearly 2,000 jobs.

Two months into 2019, trucking jobs are at a net increase of 6,000 for the year. Transport jobs are at a net increase of 26,600.

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 jobs. 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 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector was $24.55 for February – up sharply 13 cents from January. Earnings were up 35 cents from February 2018. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up a nickel to $22.12 from the previous month and up 52 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.66, an 11-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3.4 percent.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations increased slightly to 5.1 percent, compared with 5.0 percent in January. However, the rate increased significantly from 6.1 percent a year ago. Overall unemployment decreased 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was mostly unchanged at 1.3 million, accounting for 20.4 percent of the unemployed.