The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are in: the for-hire trucking sector of the U.S. economy lost 1,200 jobs in May. Furthermore, the trucking industry total employment, 1,431,000, was the lowest it has been since November 2014. This is despite the U.S. economy as a whole gaining 2.5 million jobs.
By themselves, these numbers may look bleak for the trucking industry. Here is why we are optimistic.
Initially, looking at 1,200 jobs lost in a month seems like a large amount. However, the loss is minimal compared to the number of jobs lost the month prior. In April 2020, the number of trucking jobs shed from the economy was 89,800.
Most of this job loss and turnaround is due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the coronavirus pandemic helped truckers in March as consumers swarmed for toilet paper, the leading quarantine lowered demand for most goods, which led to businesses either needing to layoff/furlough employees or close its doors altogether. Now, with the number of coronavirus deaths decreasing to below the average and the encroaching summer making people want to go outside, the economy is healing.
Indirect Employment Boosters
There is strong evidence that June will have an increase in trucking jobs. During the month of May, construction and manufacturing combined added 689,000 jobs to the economy (464,000 construction, 225,000 manufacturing). Both of these jobs lead to an increase in demand for the trucking industry, as the companies need raw and finished goods sent from one place to another.
Once these workers have been on the job for a month, the number of trucks needed on the road to move items should increase. Just a 5% correlation would mean an increase in 34,450 trucking jobs next month.
During the 12 months before the pandemic, the number from the BLS always exceeded 1,500,000. When the pandemic passes, there is no reason to believe the number will remain below this milestone. Keep the faith that this will pass, and America will be back on its feet in no time.