Trucking jobs rise in February

| March 04, 2011

The U.S. economy added 192,000 nonfarm jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis during February — 11,200 of which came from for-hire trucking companies, according to the preliminary estimates released March 4 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If the numbers hold, the increase in trucking jobs would be the largest one-month surge since December 1990. However, BLS revised January estimates for payroll employment in truck transportation downward by 4,300, so the net increase over the figures reported last month is 6,900.

Payroll employment at for-hire trucking companies in February increased 3.1 percent year-over-year to 38,300 jobs, according to the preliminary figures. Since the beginning of March 2010 when the slump in trucking jobs hit bottom, trucking companies have added 39,000 jobs, according to BLS estimates.

Total employment in trucking in February was more than 1.266 million – down 187,000, or 12.9 percent, from peak trucking employment in January 2007. The BLS numbers reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don’t include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet. Nor do the numbers reflect the total amount of hiring since they only include new jobs, not replacements for existing positions.

Figures for trucking do not include the express delivery companies, which fall under the category of “couriers and messenger” in BLS data. According to preliminary numbers, that was the only segment of transportation that lost jobs, likely reflecting the final terminations of temporary jobs added to handle holiday season demand. Employment by couriers and messengers was down by only 1,400 jobs, however.

Despite the strong growth in jobs throughout the economy, the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.9 percent as the number of people seeking employment rose at about the same level as the number of new jobs added.

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