Trucking Part of Reviving US Economyby Jana Ritter - Published: 5/04/2013
The U.S. economy showed last month why it remains the envy of industrialized nations: In the face of tax increases and federal spending cuts, employers added a solid 165,000 jobs in April — with for hire trucking adding 11,700 of those jobs
In its report Friday, the Labor Department revised up its estimate of job gains in February and March by a combined 114,000. It now says employers added 332,000 jobs in February and 138,000 in March. The economy has created an average of 208,000 jobs a month from November through April — above the 138,000 added in the previous six months. The job growth in April drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 percent and sent a reassuring sign that the U.S. job market is improving.
“We don’t know what types of jobs (the April gain) they are, but since the majority of trucking employment is drivers, it would suggest that category,” Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, said. “The gain since April 2010 is significant. Looking backward, in 2012, trucking employment grew at twice the rate as total U.S. employment.”
"This is a good report," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. "There's a lot of strength... It's good for the economy. It's good for people's income." The stronger job growth suggests that the federal budget cutting "does not mean recession," Silvia said. "It does not mean a dramatic slowdown."
The report of trucking adding 11,700 jobs in April is the largest month-to-month increase since trucking added 12,700 jobs in February 2012. Trucking payroll employment in April totaled 1.386 million jobs — up 45,300 jobs, or 3.4%, from April 2012 and is up by 151,600 jobs, or 12.3%, from the bottom in March 2010, but it remains 67,800 jobs, or 4.7%, below the peak in January 2007.
The BLS numbers for trucking reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don't include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet. Nor do the numbers reflect the total amount of hiring since they only reflect the number of employees paid during a specified payroll period during the month. Due to high turnover rates, the BLS estimates may overstate the number of job positions due to the methodology used in the agency's Current Employment Survey.
Regardless, there are other reports reflecting well on the trucking industry – according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the two categories that have shown the biggest year-over-year increases in total compensation are (1) occupations in transportation and material moving and (2) employees at junior colleges, colleges, universities and professional schools.
So what do truckers and professors have in common? Ms. Swonk observes that their jobs are both hard to either outsource or automate, unlike a lot of other occupations.