The for-hire trucking industry is adding workers to company payrolls while the national unemployment rate continues to rise.
Trucking employment rose 0.3 percent in June to 1.3 million workers on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The 110,000 for-hire trucking firms tracked by the Labor Department agency hired approximately 4,400 workers, according to preliminary data released July 8.
On a non-adjusted basis, trucking employment rose 2 percent last month, as a 15,000-job gap opened between the adjusted numbers and the raw payroll data.
The raw data in the BLS survey may reflect temporary seasonal jobs hauling produce as the produce season kicks into high gear in many parts of the country.
U.S. employers last month hired the fewest workers in nine months, surprising analysts who had forecast stronger employment growth in June.
The national unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent in May.
The unemployment rate has risen 0.4 percentage points since March. Trucking employment climbed 0.9 percent in the same period, BLS data show.
According to the seasonally adjusted figures, trucking has added 27,500 jobs since January, with its payroll numbers climbing each month since then.
Trucking employment has risen 3.9 percent from its low point in March 2010. It is still 11.7 percent below its 10-year high point in January 2007.
The trucking business is flouting economic trends, with carriers reporting stronger pricing and profits despite a slowdown in the economic recovery.
That’s largely because truck capacity remains tight, as motor carriers rebuild truck fleets that were sharply reduced in size from 2006 through 2010.
Trucking companies also are struggling to rebuild workforces that were slashed during the recession. Pay is expected to rise as carriers compete for drivers.