Trucking employment dipped in January – a first since April

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Feb. 8, 2021: 

Trucking employment dips for first time since April
The number of payroll jobs in the for-hire trucking industry fell by 2,900 jobs in January, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Department of Labor in its monthly Employment Situation Summary. That’s the first month since April that trucking industry employment fell from the month prior.

The slowdown in hiring among trucking fleets fits into the U.S. economy’s overall trend. Job gains in the broader economy hit a plateau in recent months, and employers overall added just 49,000 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. 

Since May, for-hire fleets have added back 47,000 jobs, but total industry employment, some 1.475 million jobs in January, was nearly 50,000 jobs shy of the recent high mark from last February – before the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest in the U.S. 

Likewise, year over year, total employment among for-hire fleets was down 47,300 jobs compared to January 2020 and down nearly 53,000 jobs from the same month in 2019.

Major freight-producing sectors construction and manufacturing also both lost jobs in the month, 3,000 and 10,000, respectively, and the retail trade sector, which has carried much of the economic recovery since last spring, dropped 37,800 jobs. 

The leisure and hospitality sector, one of the hardest hit in the pandemic, lost another 61,000 jobs in January, with more than half coming among restaurants and bars.

The transportation and warehousing sector as a whole dropped 27,800 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, though air transportation did show signs of life, adding back nearly 15,000 jobs in the month.

Goodyear invests in self-driving trucking firm TuSimple
Goodyear Ventures, a segment of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, announced it has invested in TuSimple, a self-driving truck technology company.

TuSimple operates self-driving trucks out of their facilities in Arizona and Texas in the U.S. The company is developing a commercial-ready Level 4 autonomous driving system.

Last year, Goodyear announced a strategic partnership to provide tires and tire management to TuSimple’s Autonomous Freight Network. Goodyear will conduct wear studies to better predict maintenance, understand tire longevity and reduce the carbon impact of fleets.

TA expands telematics offerings with Spireon trailer telematics
TravelCenters of America is partnering with Spireon to bring installation services for FleetLocate trailer telematics devices to TA Truck Service centers. Truckers can now have new trailer telematics systems installed or have existing ones upgraded at TA Truck Service centers.

Prior to this partnership, Spireon arranged for all installations to take place on-site at a carrier’s location. Now, carriers can also service their trailers while they are on the road.