The JOC For-HIre Trucking Employment Index inched up 0.1 percentage points in August as for-hire trucking companies slowed hiring sharply amid widespread economic uncertainty.
The August index reading of 93.4 was its highest level since October 2008, but was still about 6.5 percent below its pre-recession peak in early 2007.
Trucking employment was up 3.8 percent year-over-year in August, compared with a 3.6 percent year-over-year increase in July and 3.2 percent increase in June.
Revised Labor Department employment data showed trucking added more jobs in July, June and May than previously reported.
However, the seasonally adjusted numbers reveal the pace of trucking hiring increased much more slowly in August than in July, June and May.
The index represents change in trucking employment based on monthly payroll data for more than 100,000 for-hire carriers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employment at carriers tracked by the BLS climbed by 1,400 jobs to about 1,351,500 employees in August, according to preliminary data released Friday.
The August increase compares with 5,500 jobs added in July, 3,900 jobs in June and 6,500 jobs in May. The slower hiring rate reflects economic uncertainty.
Trucking employment has increased every month this year except March, when the sector lost 1,200 jobs, according to the BLS. It gained 11,800 jobs in February.
The Journal of Commerce calculates the seasonally adjusted index by assigning a base value of 100 to average trucking employment in the fourth quarter of 2006.
According to BLS data, trucking employment peaked in early 2007, when the trucking employment index briefly hit readings of 100 to 100.4 for five months.
The index dropped precipitously during the Great Recession of 2009, reaching its low point of 85.3 in March 2010. It has climbed 8.1 points since that month.