The transportation job situation in April had its best month since January after one month of modest increases and one month of significant losses.
The transport sector gained more than 11,000 jobs, as eight of 10 subsectors experienced increases. For the first time in a year, trucking jobs are down. Although March’s preliminary numbers showed a decline in trucking jobs, updated numbers reveal a slight uptick of 300 jobs.
The truck transportation subsector experienced a loss of 500 jobs in April after the industry gained a modest 300 jobs in March and 500 in February. April marks the first monthly decrease since last April, when trucking lost 5,000 jobs. Numbers for April and March are preliminary.
Warehousing and storage experienced the largest increase 5,400 more jobs, followed closely by transit/ground passenger transport with an additional 5,100 jobs. Only two subsector experienced a loss, which include rail transport with 700 fewer jobs and trucking with a loss of 500.
Year-to-date, trucking has a net increase of 4,700 jobs. Transport jobs are at a net increase of 37,400.
In 2018, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 200,000 jobs, up from 2017’s net increase of more than 185,000 jobs. Compared to the previous month, there was a net increase in jobs in every month in 2018 except December. February accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 28,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 43,800 jobs in 2018, significantly higher than 2017’s net increase of 16,100 jobs.
Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.66 for April – up 4 cents from March. Earnings were up 38 cents from April 2018. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up 5 cents to $22.40 from the previous month and up 64 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.77, a 6-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3.2%.
According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations decreased significantly to 4%, compared with 4.9% in March. This time last year, the unemployment rate in the transport sector was 4.4%. Overall unemployment dropped to 3.6%, the lowest it has been in nearly half a century.
In December 1969, the unemployment rate reached 3.5% and got as low as 3.4% from September 1968 through May 1969. Since 1948, the lowest the unemployment rate has reached was 2.5% in May and June 1953.
The number of long-term unemployed in April was dropped slightly to 1.2 million, accounting for 21.1% of the unemployed.