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Current losses put May total jobs at 24,600 below July 2023 level

The monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals a significant decrease in truck transportation jobs in May, falling back to the level of last November.

According to the BLS, seasonally adjusted jobs reached the same figure as November at 1,550,100, after dropping by 5,400 in April. Since the start of the uptick in 202, this has been the third sharpest decline, behind the drastic drop recorded in April 2020 and the loss of 31,600 jobs last August due to the closure of Yellow Corp. The current losses, combined with previous ones, put total employment in May 24,600 below the level of July 2023, with 29,600 fewer than a year ago.

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In May, employment data for March and April in truck transportation was also revised downward, revealing that in May non-seasonally adjusted jobs in trucking increased significantly to 1,548,000 from April’s 1,538,600 (revised downward by 1,100 jobs). This increase contrasts with the drop in seasonally adjusted figures, suggesting a seasonal adjustment of over 14,000 jobs in May, according to previous trends, as shared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In a recent FreightWaves article, David Spencer, Vice President of Market Intelligence at Arrive Logistics, noted that the decline was foreseeable. He explained that the industry has faced persistently low spot rates, which have pressured downward on contractual rates and resulted in a reduction in the number of drivers. Since May 2023, this has led to a decrease of nearly 30,000 jobs.

En la imagen se muestra un hombre trabajando en almacén

Courier and warehousing employment statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides unemployment rates for the entire transportation and warehousing sector. In the courier sector, data collected by the Bureau indicates that the unemployment rate in May rose to 5.5%, compared to the previous 4.7%, with its lowest point recorded in June 2023 at 3.3%. Additionally, the average weekly hours worked decreased to 37.8, marking the lowest level in a year.

In the warehousing sector, May was relatively stable. The BLS recorded an increase of 700 seasonally adjusted jobs, reaching a total of 1,772,100. However, April’s data was revised downward by 4,200 positions, while March had 2,100 fewer jobs than initially reported. After turbulent volatility in 2023, the warehousing sector seems to have found some stability, with a net increase of 5,200 jobs since last December.

Finally, average hourly earnings for non-supervisory truck transportation employees increased. Additionally, the median hours worked in April decreased slightly. Nevertheless, 40 hours have not been surpassed in 2024, with the recent peak being 42.2 in May 2022.

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