Freight Industry Employment Flat in August

Freight Industry Employment Flat in August

Empty cargo hold on an airplane.A faster-paced economy wasn't evident in the August employment numbers for freight transportation industries.

Although transportation and warehousing businesses added 12,000 net new jobs in August, most of those workers never touched a container, trailer, forklift or pallet.

The transportation sector gains were mostly in transit and other passenger services, which added 7,600 jobs in August, and support services, rather than freight-related transportation jobs.

Overall, U.S. private sector payroll added 169,000 net new jobs last month, although 219,000 people dropped out of the labor force, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

The national average unemployment rate dropped from 7.4 percent in July to 7.3 percent, its lowest level since 2008. The number of long-term unemployed stayed the same at 4.3 million.

Freight-related businesses added few jobs, according to the BLS survey data, with courier companies gaining 1,900 jobs and warehousing 1,400 jobs. For-hire trucking employment was flat compared with July and up 1.9 percent from a year ago.

Other freight sectors, including rail, air and maritime transportation, lost jobs in August. The biggest job growth was in the retail trade, which added 44,000 jobs, which may foretell more freight-related jobs in September. 

Manufacturing gained 14,000 jobs in August, mostly from a rebound from summer-time layoffs in the automotive industry. Overall, manufacturing employment has dropped by 2,000 jobs since January and is up only 0.2 percent year-over-year.