For the first time since May 2013, employment in the trucking industry has declined. The Department of Labor released March employment numbers, announcing a drop of 6,800 jobs in the for-hire trucking industry, marking the biggest decline in two years. Before March, jobs in the trucking industry had been slowly climbing to near pre-recession employment levels, with 64,600 new jobs created by more than 100,000 motor carriers since June 2013. The situation may not be as bad as it first appeared, and many in the industry remain hopeful for an employment rebound. It is worth noting that the last big employment dip in the trucking industry (March 2013 with a 10,400 jobs loss) was followed by a boom of 13,800 jobs in April 2013.
All considered, employment numbers in the trucking industry are significantly better than at the start of 2014. For example, since March 2014, for-hire trucking as an industry has added 39,300 jobs, which shows a significant improvement over the past few years. At 1.438 million, the trucking industry is 14,600 jobs shy of peak levels set in January 2007, indicating steady recovery despite minor setbacks. Hourly earnings figures are also improving, and in March, $22.91 was the average hourly wage in the transportation and warehousing sector. Predictions for the remainder of 2015 remain positive. While March’s job loss may not be a reoccurring trend in the industry, it is raising concerns over the driver shortage and already tight capacity in the trucking industry.