6,800 trucking jobs added in April, unemployment rate tumbles

Updated Sep 5, 2014
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The for-hire trucking industry added 6,800 payroll jobs in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the monthly employment report released May 2 by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. economy as a whole added 288,00 non-farm jobs for the month, BLS reports. The national unemployment rate fell 0.4 percent to 6.3 percent in April. The decrease was the largest since September 2008 and unemployment is now at the lowest level in more than five years.

Economists attribute the surge to milder weather following a severe winter that had stifled the economy. Economists had predicted job gains to be about 210,000.

March employment rose in construction (32,000 jobs), retail trade (34,500 jobs), professional and business services (75,000), education and health services (40,000) and leisure and hospitality (28,000).

Hiring in the government sector was up 15,000 jobs after being flat in March, while manufacturing gained 11,000, more than making up the 1,000 jobs lost the month before. Mining and logging jobs were down slightly, with 1,100 jobs lost in April.

Economists are divided on whether the March jobs number picked up pace after bad weather in January and February, or if hiring was still stalled by Mother Nature.

For-hire trucking totaled 1.4015 million payroll jobs in April, up 20,800 jobs (1.5 percent) from April 2013 and up 176,500 jobs (13.6 percent) from March 2010, the low point in the downturn. However, trucking employment remains 51,900 jobs (3.6 percent) below January 2007′s peak.

The BLS numbers for trucking 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 reflect the number of employees paid during a specified payroll period during the month.