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Economic Watch: U.S. Employment Grows by 217,000, Trucking Adds 1,500 Jobs

June 6, 2014

By Jim Park

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For-hire trucking contributed 1,500 new jobs to the 217,000 new jobs added last month, the Labor Department reported June 4.

About 1.4 million workers are now employed in the for-hire trucking sector, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. That figure is up 1.6%, or 22,400 jobs, from a year ago, and up 13.6%, or 175,900 jobs from March 2010, the post-recession low. Employment in trucking remains 3.6%, or 52,500 jobs, below the pre-recession peak of January 2007.

BLS indicates the construction sector added 6,000 jobs in May, while manufacturing payrolls grew by 10,000. While that's good in terms of increasing demand for trucking services, the downside is that as jobs open up in those sectors trucking could see more drivers departing for greener pastures and a more stable lifestyle.

The U.S. unemployment rate remains unchanged at 6.3%, BLS reports. That's the lowest unemployment has been in more than five years.

While four consecutive +200k monthly non-farm payroll reports is impressive, it will take more than headline improvement to thrust the economy above current trend growth, says Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist at Sterne Agee, Inc.

"Headline job creation continues to impress, boosting expectations for a near-term acceleration in growth and offsetting the weakness at the start of the year, she says, "but employment gains thus far have not yet led to wage pressures. Without adequate income growth, the consumer remains limited in spending capacity, which is restraining near-term growth prospects. Underlying consumer demand remains positive but much less robust than the strength needed to drive 4% GDP in Q2."

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