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Big gains for trucking jobs in January on adjusted basis but slide for non-adjusted

Couriers and warehouses also posted big gains; rail numbers are flat

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

With the U.S. economy adding more jobs in January than even the most optimistic forecast — up 467,000 jobs — the truck transportation sector also reported solid gains.

Total truck transportation jobs rose 7,500 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, rising to 1,549,200 jobs, according to the monthly report issued by the Bureau of Labot Statistics Friday. With revisions in November and December, it means that the sector has tacked on 11,600 jobs since November, which was revised for the final time to a jobs figure of 1,537,600.

But on a not seasonally adjusted basis, jobs in the truck transportation sector fell significantly in January from December. Economists generally look at seasonally adjusted data as more meaningful, but many caution that the figures for not seasonally adjusted jobs should not be ignored. January jobs on a not seasonally adjusted basis in January were down to 1,534,200 jobs, which marks a decline of 12,000 jobs from December and a whopping 16,800 jobs since November.

Seasonally adjusted jobs have now recovered enough over the last two months that employment in the sector is past its all-time high. Pre-pandemic, the highest number of jobs in the sector was reported at 1,540,200 in June 2019. But both December 2021 and January 2022 came in more than that. 

The seasonally adjusted numbers for other key transportation sectors also rose significantly. Couriers and messengers were up 21,200 jobs since December, to 1,110,600 jobs]jhjh. That big jump comes after December jobs had declined from November, so the couriers’ gain from November of 16,000 jobs is actually less than those between December and January.

Warehousing and storage jobs were up double digits as well, climbing 13,400 jobs to 1,728,200 jobs. Since November, that sector has added 25,000 jobs.

Rail jobs were steady at 146,400 jobs. That sector has fluctuated around the 144,000 to 146,000 jobs range since the middle of 2020.

FreightWaves will continue to cover this story over the day. 

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.