Trucking employment fell slightly in August and has remained relatively flat since June, according to seasonally adjusted data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The for-hire carriers tracked by the Labor Department agency shed 900 jobs last month, but still had 100 more jobs than they had in June, the BLS data show. Raw data that was not seasonally adjusted showed a 0.4 percent increase in trucking employment, however, about 5,500 jobs. Both numbers are provisional.
August was the first month this year when seasonally adjusted number dropped, according to the Labor Department estimates. It had been rising since January.
Trucking employment was up 2.7 percent year-over-year, but the gap between 2010 and 2011 payroll numbers as reflected in the BLS data is narrowing. Since April, the year-over-year gain in trucking employment has ranged between 3 and 3.3 percent, after climbing from 1.4 percent in January.
Unlike last year, when trucking employment climbed more quickly after increases in for-hire truck tonnage, the growth rate in employment has slowed in 2011. The data may reflect difficulty attracting employees, particularly drivers, as well as a general reluctance to expand payroll in a uncertain economic environment.