1,600 trucking jobs added

The U.S. economy added 216,000 nonfarm jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis during March, and trucking companies accounted for 1,600 of those jobs, according to the preliminary estimates released April 1 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The increase follows a revised 10,400-job surge in February. Payroll employment at for-hire trucking companies was 40,000 jobs higher than in March 2010, according to the preliminary figures.

Total employment in trucking in March was more than 1.267 million – down 186,000, or 12.8 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.

Although the economy added 216,000 jobs in March, the unemployment rate was little changed, dipping one-tenth of a point to 8.8 percent, as the number of people seeking employment rose at almost the same level as the number of new jobs added.