After a few months of relatively weak employment growth in truck transportation, the industry added jobs in March and posted stronger revised numbers for February, according to figures released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The monthly report showed that total jobs in the truck transportation sector climbed to 1,482,700 seasonally adjusted jobs, up from 1,479,400 jobs in February. However, the February number was revised up from the initial report of 1,475,700 jobs in the sector.
The January number of jobs in truck transportation “went final” at 1,480,200 jobs. The BLS reports two months of preliminary numbers and then posts a final estimate on the number of jobs. The January figure was little changed from earlier estimates.
What it all means is that while March may have added jobs to a revised February number, the preliminary figure for March is only about 2,500 jobs more than January, which is a seasonally weak month. Given the strong levels of freight volume, the combination of slow growth and demand to move freight could be seen as an equation that is driving driver pay to such high levels.
The warehousing and storage sector, which ran strong job growth numbers for months, is now seeing relatively slow increases in employment. Jobs in that sector for March came in at a seasonally adjusted figure of 1,414,300, down from a revised February figure of 1,416,200 jobs. That number in turn was revised down from the initial February report of 1,414,800 jobs. The January “final” figure was 1,415,600 jobs, meaning the sector actually had fewer people working in it in March than January.
Rail jobs continued their slide. The BLS reported 140,700 jobs in the sector for March, down 900 jobs from February and down 1,700 jobs from January.
FreightWaves will have additional coverage of the employment report later Friday.