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Truck jobs down seasonally in May but up on nonseasonal basis

A tale of 2 job reports: Seasonal numbers are closely watched by economists, but the other measurement suggests some success at hiring

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Truck transportation jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis fell in May from April, another sign that despite higher pay and a bevy of incentives like signing bonuses, getting drivers into the seats remains a challenge.

The decline in seasonally adjusted jobs reported Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was not matched in the category of not-seasonally adjusted jobs. Most economists look at seasonally adjusted figures but will also caution that the not-seasonally adjusted figures should not be ignored. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the category of truck transportation had 1,479,700 jobs in May. That is down 1,900 from the revised April figure of 1,481,600 jobs. It also is down from the now final March figure of 1,481,000 jobs. 

But the not-seasonally adjusted numbers suggest some level of success in hiring. That came in at 1,478,600 jobs in May, a significant increase from the revised April number of 1,467,800 jobs, a gain of 10,800 jobs. 

In other highlights from the report, warehousing and storage jobs, which had softened recently after months of strong gains, rose a healthy 1,800 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1,408,800 jobs. However, the not-seasonally adjusted figure in that category fell to 1,393,200 from 1,396,600 jobs. 

Couriers and messengers rose on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1,033,000 jobs, up from 1,030,200 jobs. On a not-seasonally adjusted basis, jobs there rose by even more, up to 968,500 jobs from 959,200 jobs. 

Rail jobs increased 900 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, up to 144,100 jobs. 

FreightWaves will continue to report on this story over the course of the day.

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One Comment

  1. Stephen+Webster

    In many parts of Canada and the U S one parent must stay home to look after the children with the school closings. In 1978 I truck driver maid the same per hour as a public school teacher or a female nurse. Today the truck driver is the lower paid per hour spouse. . Many times the truck drivers are staying home and getting a part time local job or getting a gov check.

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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.