The trucking industry lost 6,800 jobs in March-- the first such drop since 2013, according to the latest employment numbers from the Department of Labor. The report did not specify the types of trucking jobs or segments that contributed to the loss.
Despite the drop in trucking, overall employment increased by 126,000 jobs for the month and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5%. Average hourly earnings for all employees also rose in March by 7 cents to $24.86.
The American Trucking Associations' chief economist Bob Costello tweeted about the drop in trucking jobs, calling it substantial. He also commented on the overall employment increase saying that it undercut expectations, but was in line with similar weak showings in January and February.
Recently, Costello released a report on high driver-turnover rates among large and small truckload carriers. The numbers were taken as indicators that the driver shortage was becoming more pervasive in the truckload sector. Costello observed that “we expect the problem to get worse in the near term.”