After a flat period of job creation for trucking in late summer, the sector is once again moving into the positive numbers in early fall. However, the industry problem of driver turnover continues to peak in the triple digits as companies scramble to retain experienced drivers while trying to maintain their profit margins amid the weak shipping season before the holidays begin.
Key areas of job additions were the transportation and warehousing sector. The mix was skilled and non-skilled positions. The sector added 17,100 jobs throughout the month of September, substantially contributing to the drop in unemployment in the latest job numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week. Overall, 114,000 jobs were added across all sectors last month, which brought the unemployment rate down to 7.8 percent.
The biggest employment gains in the transportation sector were seen in transit and ground passenger transportation, which added 9,000 jobs last month. The only areas included under the transportation umbrella that did not experience job growth in September was air transport, which saw a loss of 2,500 jobs, and water transportation, which saw no change at all from the previous month.
While reasons for the growth were not outlined in the Labor Department report, various factors could have contributed to the transportation sector job growth such as the new surface transportation law, MAP-21 that allows state transportation departments and private businesses two years of funding certainty. The law came into effect on Oct. 1, after being signed by President Obama July 6.