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June job growth solid but slowing in truck transportation sector 

Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows increase of 4,300 jobs is less than recent months

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Truck transportation jobs grew in June but at a slower pace than the last several months.

Since the gigantic decline of 78,800 jobs in April 2020 at the start of the pandemic, seasonally adjusted truck transportation jobs reported monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have grown every month but one, a 2,700-job decline in March. 

But the 4,300 jobs added in June were far less than the pace of the last few months. The increase in truck transportation jobs in May was 16,900; in April, it was 14,900 jobs. And before that one-month decline in March, the growth was 11,000 jobs in February and 6,800 jobs in January.

The total figure for June was 1,589,500 jobs in the BLS’ truck transportation sector. A year ago, there were 1,516,900 jobs.

But it was in the not seasonally adjusted numbers that suggest the market for truck transportation jobs is stronger than the seasonally adjusted numbers. Truck transportation jobs in that category were up 20,600 jobs, a significant one-month increase. Most labor economists look more closely at seasonally adjusted jobs but also caution that the not seasonally adjusted numbers should not be ignored. Additionally, the not seasonally adjusted number for May was adjusted upward by 4,200 jobs, and the April figure was also adjusted upward by a small amount. The net result is that on a not seasonally adjusted basis, 1,597,000 truck transportation jobs in June is up more than 47,000 jobs in just three months.

While last year there was data that suggested the increase in total truck transportation jobs was coming in more local activity rather than long-haul trucking, that has changed. Data on specific sectors for April showed that the long-haul trucking category had added 20,000 jobs between April 2021 and April 2022 out of a total increase in truck transportation jobs of 62,700. LTL jobs during that period grew by 10,400, and the category of specialized long distance climbed 11,000.

Warehousing and storage jobs took another surge in June. They came in at 1,821,600, an increase of 17,500 jobs in the last month. And that category’s numbers for May and April also were revised upward. A year ago, the warehousing category had 1,784,400 jobs. 

In other highlights of the report:

  • Truck transportation earnings in May for nonsupervisory and production employees took a big upward move. They came in at $28.12, up from $27.29, an increase of just over 3%. It’s the biggest one-month increase in that category since at least 2011, when the data from the BLS began.
  • And not surprisingly, that drove the producer price index for the sector between April and May up by 3%. But that isn’t the largest, not even for this year; it was up 4.2% in March.
  • The number of couriers took a surprising drop, down 1,200 jobs in June. However, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, courier jobs rose almost 13,000 jobs. 

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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.