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August 2016 industry update

The industry experienced positive job growth in August.
/ Industry News & Trends /

By: Phil Sneed

The U.S. trucking sector ended August on a positive note after 3,400 jobs were added throughout the month. August represents the second straight month of positive job creation and an improvement over the spring months which saw the industry lose jobs.

With the gains posted in August, the for-hire trucking total is now at about 1.5 million. There were 222,600 more jobs in August 2016 than in March 2010, which is considered to be the lowest point of the recent economic recession.

The transportation industry as a whole added 14,900 jobs last month. These numbers also include warehousing numbers, and for the most part, the industry enters September on a positive note.

There are, however, some important comparisons that have to be made. Even with the positive July and August numbers, the trucking industry has still lost 5,900 jobs since an all-time high was hit in January 2016. Additionally, compared to August 2015, there are now 700 fewer jobs.

"The U.S. trucking sector ended August on a positive note after 3,400 jobs were added."

While the industry has added a positive number of jobs, there's still some way to go to make up valuable ground.

American economy adds jobs

As a whole, the August jobs report was slightly under what outside observers were projecting. According to CNBC, economists expected about 180,000 nonfarm payroll jobs to be created last month instead of the actual 151,000.

Additionally, the financial service stated August has historically been a challenge when it comes to jobs numbers. Likewise, June and July were above-average with regard to new job creation.

Unemployment remained at 4.9 percent as it has generally done so since the start of the year with a few upticks here and there.

Truck orders surprise

The slight gain in trucking jobs wasn't the only positive news from August. Statistics from FTR indicated that Class 8 truck orders last month were slightly above expectations. Total net orders for August were at 14,000, which represented a 36 percent increase over July's orders. However, when compared to August 2015, order totals were down 35 percent.

Even with what seems like a weak August, Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles, told Fleet Owner in an interview that there was nothing out of the ordinary for the month.

"We expected orders to average around 12,000 per month in the July-August period and taken as a whole, they did," said Ake. "There were less cancelations in August, making the month look a little better than July. July will be the lowest order month of the year, which is typical.  Market conditions did not deteriorate nor improve in August."

Over the last year, Class 8 orders have equaled 206,000 units.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, the transportation industry may see upticks in orders to meet the upcoming demand for trucking. The last four jobs reports will provide more information regarding the industry as it continues to recover from the economic downturn.