Trucking Slows Hiring
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, hiring by trucking companies has slowed its pace. Preliminary data shows that the loss of jobs outpaced hiring in March compared to February.
There was a drop of 1,900 jobs. Despite this, the Bureau figures show a trend toward recovery in the trucking industry. Due to the recession, in January 2007, trucking companies saw employment drop by 15 percent. It began to recover slowly in 2010. In 2011, companies were offering more truck driving jobs, and the industry was making great gains. 2012 has reflected that recovery but it job growth has leveled off, as the Bureau's statistics imply.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, offers several figures and comparisions to help make sense of the current statistics. January trucking employment was 4.1 percent over last year. February’s figures showed an increase of 3.7 over February 2011. March’s figures showed only a 3.2 percent increase over March 2011. Generally the pace of jobs is slowing with each month so far this year.
On the other hand, the BLS reported that the overall unemployment rate is at its lowest level since January 2009. February figures were 8.3 percent while preliminary figures show 8.2 percent for March. The Bureau reported that general unemployment has been on a three-month streak where hiring climbed by 200,000. Up until recently, truck driving jobs were keeping pace with general unemployment figures. They are still better than in some other industries.
The transport industry has benefitted overall from the economic improvements of the last few years and has been able to recover many jobs lost during the height of the economic downtown. As consumers have bought more goods, more trucks have been needed to keep stores stocked and orders filled. In addition, the tragic number of tornadoes and other natural disasters have required additional goods to serve stricken areas. This allowed employers to keep or add truck driving jobs to handle the additional loads.
Trucking employment climbed steadily until leveling off over the last three months. In a survey that included as many as 100,000 for-hire carriers, the BLS showed an 8 percent increase over two years ago. In 2011, payroll increased by as much as 3.7 percent over the same time period in 2010.
Just among those surveyed, trucking companies have created more than 41,000 jobs in the last year. They have created as many as 98,000 since March 2010. This actually indicates more jobs. First, there are more for-hire transport firms than are surveyed by the BLS. Second, there are more transport-related jobs that are not specified. When the Bureau surveys operators, it includes positions which serve the truck industry such as mechanics, office workers and managers.