Trucking executives may complain loudly about how hard it is to hire staff members, but it’s getting done.
The employment report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that for the third time in the last four months, the truck transportation category in May added a double-digit number of seasonally adjusted jobs.
For May, the number of jobs added was 13,300, bringing the total up to 1,581,300 jobs. That continues the run of record-high levels of employment in the truck transportation sector.
Except for a dip of 2,700 jobs reported for March, total employment in truck transportation has risen every month since the almost 80,000-job plunge in April 2020, the first month of the pandemic. This year, besides the March dip, the increases were 11,000 in February, 14,000 in April and the latest increase of 13,300 jobs.
With revisions in the March figures, which are now final, truck transportation jobs the last two months are now up 27,300 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Since December, that total is 42,400 jobs.
In the history of the BLS series going back to 2012, there have only been three months prior to this year with job gains of more than 10,000, and one of them was May 2020, coming off the colossal crash of one month earlier. There now have been three this year alone.
The not seasonally adjusted figure for truck transportation also showed big gains. It came in at 1,572,000 jobs, up more than 22,000 from the revised April figure of 1,549,500 jobs. On a not seasonally adjusted basis, truck transportation jobs are up 37,400 jobs.
The warehousing sector also continues to add jobs at a breakneck pace. Employment in that sector is now over 1.8 million, with the total coming in at 1,801,400 jobs. That is up 17,700 jobs in a month, 34,800 jobs in two months and more than 176,000 jobs in a year.
Some other key figures from the report:
- The Producer Price Index for the truck transportation sector is soaring. It was up 4.5% between March and April — the data on that lags the employment figures by a month — and it was up 4.3% a month earlier. The PPI for the warehouse sector was up 5.5% but was flat a month earlier and declined a month before that.
- The usually uneventful figures for rail actually rose 500 jobs, to 146,400 jobs in May on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s the highest since last July, when they were at 147,300 jobs. (In May 2018, rail jobs totaled 181,700.)
- Average hourly earnings in the truck transportation sector for production and nonsupervisory employees in April was up 10 cents per hour, to $27.27. But the number of hours worked rose 30 minutes, to 41.7 hours. That number had been trending down from a recent high of 43.4 hours in August 2021.