Truck Driving Jobs Grow as Unemployment Falls

After a rough few years, the economy finally found some breathing room last month as the national unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level since February 2009. The Labor Department reported that employment increased by 200,000 jobs in December 2011, with the unemployment rate falling to 8.5 percent.

Many organizations, among them a number of for-hire trucking companies, are hoping to add to this growth and ramp up hiring during the first quarter of 2012. Consumer confidence is growing stronger by the day and demand for all products, and the trucking companies that ship them, has increased.

This was the fourth month in a row that unemployment rates dropped. 1.6 million jobs were added last year, more than half a million greater than the number of jobs created in 2010. The average unemployment rate in 2011 was 8.9 percent -- a sharp drop from the 9.6 percent rate of the previous year -- and was continuing to plummet. The December hiring boom punctuated six months of steady growth, with the economy generating at least one hundred thousand jobs each month, a gain that has not been seen in five years.

For-hire truck driving jobs increased by over 5,000 for the month of December alone, with a total increase of over 40,000 for the year. This is almost double the new trucking jobs created in 2010, and economists see no reason why this trend won't continue.

The Labor Department report showed that all industries were affected positively, both in sales and job creation -- a welcome and much-needed finding.

The median hourly pay increased across the board, and with it came a rise in disposable income for consumers, allowing for more spending. Following this surge of new shoppers, the median hours worked per week was on the rise, signaling an uptick in sales and creating a demand for new workers.

Unemployment benefit applications have dropped, reaching lows not seen in more than three years. November and December sales, while not record-setting, were solid. These holiday months were also the strongest months of the year for domestic auto sales.

Job creation was strong in all industries. Retailers created nearly 30,000 new jobs, while warehousing, shipping, and truck driving jobs increased by 50,000. The manufacturing industry added over 20,000 jobs, while construction industry jobs increased by over 15,000.

All of this is good news for trucking companies: the stronger the consumer industry, the stronger the trucking industry.

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