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Positive job growth for trucking industry

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

By: Phil Sneed

Like the rest of the U.S. economy, the trucking industry experienced good news from the latest jobs report, provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The positive news comes after October was less than stellar, as the industry had lost jobs during that month.

In all, approximately 6,000 jobs were added to the transportation sector during the month of November. This represented the largest increase since August, when 7,000 jobs were added.

Within the transportation sector are various subsections, and in this instance, the truck transportation subsector specifically added 2,300 jobs. The additional jobs now puts total trucking jobs near 1.5 million.

"The trucking industry experienced good news from the latest jobs report."

Stark contrast to previous years
The November jobs report continues a trend of positivity for the industry, as jobs are now just above the pre-recession high in October 2007, in light of October's disappointing numbers. It was only five years ago when the industry was at a low point. In fact, there are 18 percent more trucking jobs today than there were in March 2010, Fleet Owner reported.

The entire economy and transportation sector are linked together in many ways. First and foremost, the trucking industry is responsible for the vast majority of freight movement across the country. Manufacturers, construction companies, grocery chains and big-box retailers all rely on semi-trailers for logistics.

A booming and healthy economy increases the demand for goods. To help meet the demand for freight, fleet managers hire more drivers while also implementing other strategies to increase hauls, such as increasing capacity, according to Bloomberg Business.

On the other hand, a slow economy indicates logistics management has to cut costs. Methods include cutting jobs and freezing employment.

Questions persist
In other good news from the recent jobs report, the average hourly wage for drivers increased seven cents from October to $23.01. Higher wages are a positive sign, as it shows fleet operators are healthy and can invest in employees. The result is higher retention and satisfaction from drivers, two important areas in light of the ongoing driver shortage.

The economic downturn still has lingering effects on the trucking industry. Numerous drivers lost their jobs and have not returned for a variety of personal reasons. In response, fleets are looking for alternative methods to attract qualified individuals, and that includes higher wages.

November's jobs report provided good news for the transportation sector. As the economy continues to grow, drivers and fleet owners can rest easy knowing they'll be relied upon more than ever, and that equates to consistent work.