Fleet Management

Economic Watch: Employment Numbers Signal Strengthening Economy

July 03, 2014

By Deborah Lockridge

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Employers added 288,000 jobs in June, 17,000 of them in the transportation and warehousing arena, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1%.

That's well above the rate of hiring in the first five months of the year, a sign the economy continues to rebound. The average monthly gain in payrolls has been above 200,000 for the last five months.

Job gains were widespread, led by employment growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and health care, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

"That's good for consumers, that's good for consumer spending and it's good for trucking," said American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello in a Tweet.

Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 17,000 in June. Over the prior 12 months, this industry had added an average of 11,000 jobs per month.

Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs in June, with all of the increase in durable goods manufacturing, good news for the trucking industry which has to haul the goods produced by those workers. Within durable goods, employment increased in motor vehicles and parts  (+6,000) and in computer and peripheral equipment (+3,000).

Meanwhile, unemployment dropped to 6.1%, the lowest since September 2008 and the start of the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession. Unemployment has come down from 7.9% at the start of 2013.

The next thing to look for, say analysts, is a corresponding increase in wages, which have remained largely flat. Wages are up just 2% from a year ago.

It's widely believed that economic growth picked up in the second quarter, after severe winter weather put a damper on growth in the first few months of the year. Experts are estimating that the GDP numbers, when released, will show a growth rate of just over 3%.

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