May 15, 2023
The labor market, as we all know, has been in flux (to put it lightly) for the past three years. Not that it was exactly stable before that, but like with most other things, it was thrown into a frenzy when the pandemic started. Coupling that with the issues (again, to put it lightly) that the world’s supply chain has encountered during this same time period, you may think that jobs in the trucking industry may not be in the best shape either, and for a while, you would be right.
April 2020 saw the largest single-month loss of trucking jobs ever, with approximately 88,300 truckers becoming unemployed during that time, an even rougher time than 2019, which was also a rough year for the industry (relative to pre-pandemic standards.) To put it in perspective, August 2019 saw the trucking industry get rid of over 5000 jobs. April 2020 saw sixteen times that be terminated. Other industries that saw similar losses were the leisure and hospitality industries, due to the nature of this roles being in-person, and many people not being willing or able to engage in the activities and processes these roles are needed for.
However, things have changed in this regard, and they’ve also changed in relation to unemployment. It’s now 2023, and while we’re still dealing with much of the fallout that the pandemic caused, at least jobs in the transportation industry are on the rise. Since April 2020, there have only been four months where overall employment in trucking jobs has decreased. This adds up to only 11.7% of months since the pandemic showing a decrease in trucking jobs, according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics.) This can be attributed to a few different factors, one of which being owner operators who stuck out the rough times in the market, and are now largely making the move to being employed by larger trucking companies. There has also been a significant increase in demand for truckloads in areas where demand previously waned, such as construction, and oil and gas drilling sites.
The warehousing and storage sector of the transportation industry has unexpectedly shown growth recently as well. These sectors have not seen an increase in employment since June of 2022, however in both March and April of 2023, they showed growth. The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) revised their predictions for February to 1,925,900 jobs from 1,921,900 jobs, and further raised their predictions for March to 1,928,400 jobs. The total job growth shown in the report listed 250,000 new jobs in the transportation industry in April 2023.
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