For-hire trucking shows dip in jobs

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The for-hire trucking industry decreased employee payrolls for the first time in a year, the American Trucking Associations reported, but a spokesman warned against interpreting a one-month change as a trend. The industry reduced August payrolls by 2,600, according to the Sept. 1 ATA Weekly Economic Recap; this was the largest tightening since payrolls fell by 10,000 in April 2003.

But Bob Costello, the association’s chief economist, said that trucking has added 19,000 more employees to the payroll this year. Trucking has had significant employment growth in 2006, adding more jobs than manufacturing, he said. The August decrease “was only significant in that it was the first time it has happened in a year,” Costello said.

The Federal Reserve’s July 26 summary of the nation’s economic activity, based on feedback of businesses in 12 regions, suggested that trucking activity continues to increase. “Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Louis and Dallas pointed to recent expansion in rail freight and trucking activity, and San Francisco reported strong demand for transportation services,” the report stated.

Long term, trucking is among the 20 occupations with the largest numerical increases, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.