Jul 11, 2023

Truck Transportation Employment Moves Up and Down in June 2023

The truck transportation job market has exhibited fluctuations, as per the latest monthly report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The sector experienced a decline of 200 jobs in June, totaling 1,609,700 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.

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This drop was in contrast to May's adjusted figure, which saw an increase of 700 jobs from the initial May employment report. Additionally, April's job numbers were revised positively by 100 jobs.

As a result, the June figure is currently 1,000 jobs higher than the revised April figure, although it remains below the job count recorded in the first month of the year.

Truck Transportation Employment Status in June - a Case Study

In correspondence, David Spencer, Vice President of Market Intelligence at Arrive Logistics, observed the current consistency in the transportation market, specifically with regard to job stability.

Spencer noted that the summer peak shipping season, which typically sees an increase in seasonal produce shipments, has played a role in contributing to the relatively steady employment landscape within the truck transportation sector for the month of June.

Despite experiencing a decline of approximately 200 jobs, marking the first such decline since February, total employment in the sector remains higher than at any point thus far in 2022. However, the sector has experienced a net loss of nearly 2,000 jobs since January of 2023.

Spencer expressed a subdued outlook for the future, stating that with the easing of demand following Independence Day, trucking conditions are anticipated to revert to the conditions observed earlier in Q2. This implies a decline in rates and an expectation of further job losses on a seasonally adjusted basis as the trucking conditions worsen.

The report highlighted a noteworthy statistic in the not seasonally adjusted figure for truck transportation jobs, which, despite economists' preference for seasonally adjusted data, should not be disregarded.

Quarters 1 and 2 Trucking Jobs and Employment Status

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a notable increase in truck transportation jobs during the period of May to June, with an upward surge of more than 14,000 jobs registered on a not-seasonally adjusted basis.

This has raised the total number of truck transportation jobs to 1,619,900 from the previous figure of 1,605,700 jobs. This includes truck driver jobs matching truck capacity across the west coast, east coast of North America.

Additionally, when compared with the adjusted April figure, a notable increase of over 28,000 jobs has been recorded in the trucking market or truck transportation on a not seasonally adjusted basis.

However, given that the seasonally adjusted figure is based on a relative adjustment from the not-seasonally adjusted figure, the observed surge in the reported not-seasonally adjusted figure raises concerns regarding the accuracy and potential inflation of the seasonally adjusted number.

This warrants caution and the possibility of a revision in the seasonally adjusted figure in the near future.

The Perspective of an Economist

The one-month deferred data on employment levels for LTL and truckload was thoroughly examined by Breakthrough's chief economist, Matt Muenster. There are authority revocations in the freight market.

His analysis revealed a decline in long-distance LTL trucking jobs compared to the previous year, while long-distance truckload employment has witnessed an increase.

This impacted the unemployment rate environment of every freight rate. 

These findings imply that trucking capacity is being sustained, albeit with varying conditions across different segments. Muenster conveyed this information in a formal email to a news firm.

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Other highlights of the monthly report related to the Transportation Industry Jobs

  • The sector of warehousing and storage experienced a decline in employment opportunities, as it recorded a decrease from 1,911,600 jobs to 1,904,700 jobs. This continuous downward trend in warehousing jobs has persisted for several months, resulting in a reduction of 55,600 jobs in the past year, as evident from the June figures. Lowest rates are recorded too. 
  • Despite steady employment levels within the truck transportation industry, there has been a discernible decline in overall hours worked. The average weekly hours worked by all employees in this sector with commercial trucks reached a peak of 42.7 in May 2021 and maintained a level above 42 hours for the subsequent five months. Throughout the course of last year, this figure remained above 41 hours for a period of six months. However, the number of hours worked within the truck transportation industry experienced a notable drop to 39.9 in February and has only marginally rebounded since.

    In April, this number rose to 40.2, only to drop once again to 40.1 in May. It is noteworthy that this figure lags behind the general employment report by a month that hire carrier and public carriers should take note of.
  • The upward trajectory of rail employment in recent times has been noteworthy, with a notable milestone being achieved last month as the figure crossed the 150,000 worker benchmark for the first time since the pandemic hit. However, the latest figures indicate a slight decline, with a decrease of 200 jobs resulting in a total of 150,100 jobs.


Conclusion: Summary of Trends and Predictions for the Industry

In conclusion, the truck transportation industry experienced mixed results in June 2023.

While there was an overall increase in employment, there were fluctuations observed throughout the month. This hints at a somewhat unstable job market within the sector.

Despite this volatility, several current trends, freight trends, and predictions can be made for the industry.

Firstly, technological advancements such as autonomous vehicles and digital logistics solutions are expected to continue shaping the truck transportation landscape. These innovations have the potential to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency. This will result to slight increase in employment for skilled drivers operating autonomous vehicles.

Additionally, with an increasing focus on sustainability and environmental concerns, it is anticipated that electric and hybrid trucks will gain more prominence in the coming years. As governments around the world implement stricter emissions regulations, companies within the industry will likely invest in alternative fuel vehicles to comply with these standards.

Furthermore, collaboration between trucking companies and shippers is predicted to become more prevalent as both parties seek to optimize supply chain management. By working together closely, they can identify opportunities for greater cost savings and improved customer service. All time high improvements and a huge spike in a tentative agreement between carriers are expected. 

Overall, while challenges may arise in the trucking sector due to uncertain economic conditions or changing regulations, it is clear that technology-driven advancements and a focus on sustainability are set to shape the future of the truck transportation industry.

Do you want to learn more? Check out our deep-dive article about  the trucking trends here.

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