Minor decline in truck transportation jobs reported for June


Truck transportation jobs had an uneventful month in June, dropping by the smallest increment that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Changes up or down are reported by the BLS in increments of 100 (unless they’re zero), and that is the change reported by the BLS for June: a decline of 100 jobs to 1,548,600 jobs.
The BLS also reported downward revisions for May and April,
The seasonally adjusted figure for May was 1,548,700 jobs, down 1,400 jobs from what was posted a month earlier for May. The April figure, which is now “final” until the big full-year revision in the February report, was down 700 jobs.
The net result of the latest changes and the mostly negative numbers that have been racked up in the last two years is that truck transportation jobs in June were at the lowest level since last October, when they were 1,548,200 jobs. They got as high as 1,556,400 jobs in March before falling back to their current level.
“The lack of growth continues to be expected, given that spot rates have trended along the floor for most of the year,” David Spencer, vice president of market intelligence, said in his monthly commentary on the BLS report. “However, an expected bump in spot rates throughout the summer peak season was likely what contributed to stable employment in June.”
And stability is the best the industry can hope for now, according to Spencer. “We are encouraged by the relative year-over-year growth in volatility this summer peak season, but still feel the indicators point to a full rate recovery in 2025, at the earliest,” he said. “As such, we think stability in employment levels is a best-case scenario in the short term.”
One sign that the steady decline in jobs may have bottomed came in the not seasonally adjusted figures. While economists look to the seasonally adjusted numbers as key, others caution that the not seasonally adjusted figures should not be ignored. They are the basis for a seasonal adjustment factor that then produces the seasonally adjusted figure.
Not seasonally adjusted truck transportation jobs climbed to 1,559,400 jobs in June. It puts that figure well above a February low of 1,527,300 jobs. It also marks the second straight month of a sharp increase in not seasonally adjusted jobs; it climbed to 1,546,400 jobs in May from 1,538,200 jobs in April, which in turn was up from 1,531,600 jobs in March.
In other data from this month’s report:
Rail jobs increased by 300. That does not sound like much, but it takes seasonally adjusted rail jobs up to 153,300 jobs. That is the same figure as February, and that total marks the highest number since April 2020, when the combination of COVID-19 and the job-reduction impact of precision railroading being implemented began a lengthy drop in rail employment that brought job totals to less than 150,000 for 31 months.
Warehousing and storage jobs, which had been declining for months, appear to have hit a trough. June jobs of 1,771,500 jobs were down slightly from May but, after revisions, were slightly higher than April. They also have rebounded back to levels of about last fall. But they are still 40,900 jobs less than a year ago and 171,100 jobs less than where they stood at their peak in May 2022.
The subcategory of long-distance truckload drivers, which reports on a one-month lag, fell to 539,000 jobs in May from 541,900 jobs a month earlier. It is down almost 10,000 jobs in the last year.
Also from today’s BLS report on employment: The not seasonally adjusted average hourly wage for truck transportation workers who are considered production and nonsupervisory cracked $30 per hour for the first time ever, coming in right at that number. The figure for all employees, after setting an all-time high in April of $31.32, dropped to $31.29.
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