Indicators: Rates continue upward streak, trucking employment rallies

CCJ‘s Indicators rounds up the latest reports on trucking business indicators on rates, freight, equipment, the economy and more.

Spot market rates find new heights: Per-mile rates on the spot market continued to surge upward in May, according to monthly data from loadboard, with the three major truckload segments — dry van, reefer and flatbed — pressing to new record highs.Spot market paid rates chart

Flatbed rates jumped 9 cents in May to $2.75 a mile, the segment’s highest average since began distributing monthly rates data. It’s also a 50-cent jump from the same month last year.

Reefer rates grew 10 cents in May from April, to $2.81 a mile — a 74-cent increase from May 2017 and the highest monthly average on record for reefer haulers.

Dry van rates climbed 3 cents in May, to $2.52 a mile, second only to January’s $2.54 a mile monthly average. Compared to last May, van rates were up 60 cents in May.

Trucking employment rallies after April slip: Employment in the for-hire trucking industry grew by 6,600 jobs in May, according to the Department of Labor’s monthly Employment Situation Report. The gain makes up for the 5,500-job dip from April.

Trucking employment has seen steady gains since November, climbing by 21,800 jobs since. April’s slump was the lone standout among otherwise steady gains.

Employment in the for-hire trucking industry totaled 1.4774 million in May, up 24,200 jobs from the same month last year.

The U.S. economy as a whole added 223,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent. The construction sector in May gained 25,000 jobs. Manufacturing added 18,000 jobs, and the transportation and warehousing sector (under which trucking falls) grew by 18,700 jobs.

Trucking’s total is based on payroll statistics of employers and does not account for those who change jobs in the month or for those working for private fleets.