Trucking companies added 2,600 new employees on a seasonally adjusted basis in December on top of an upward revision in the November estimate. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics added 3,000 jobs to its initial November figures, so the number of trucking jobs reported for December actually is 5,600 higher than what BLS reported for November a month ago.
For-hire trucking companies added 18,800 jobs in December compared to the same 2009 month, making December the third straight month which employment grew on a year-over-year basis. Until October, trucking employment levels had not been higher than in the same month the previous year since June 2007. Since the beginning of March, trucking companies have added 22,900 jobs, according to the latest estimates.
According to preliminary BLS figures, total employment in trucking in November was more than 1.25 million – down 203,100, or 14 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, employment in that category rose by 3,300 over a strong November jump as companies like UPS and FedEx added temporary jobs related to peak holiday season deliveries.
Nationwide, the employment picture was stronger as the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent. The economy added 103,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in December — the largest increase in several months. Most of the growth was in leisure/hospitality, health care and temporary jobs.