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November 2020: Early Trucking Job Count Implies Strong Growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases two statistics each month: one is the preliminary numbers (estimate) for the month prior, and the other is a more accurate count for three months prior. The solid numbers for September came in with November’s preliminaries, and while the former is essentially what the BLS has suspected, the estimates for November were astounding.

The Numbers

September’s final results came in at 1,454,300. This is but one hundred jobs fewer than what the preliminary numbers said back in October, an insignificant margin of error. The growth from August was 4,800.

In recent months, the preliminary numbers provided by the BLS have been exceedingly close to the accurately revised number. If this is the case, then the early count for November is worth celebrating: the BLS pins the number at 1,474,400, an increase of over 12,000 from the month prior. If the preliminaries are true, this makes November 2020 the strongest month for industry growth in about a decade. In comparison, the largest previous worker increase during the pandemic was August 2020, where 9,700 jobs were added.

Conclusion

The record high for the BLS’ job tracking in the trucking industry is 1,527,300, which was February 2020, the last month that had nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic.

If the high preliminary numbers are to be believed, and the trucking industry can keep the hiring going consistently, the industry will reach those standards again in four months, or around March 2021, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic started.

As fantastic as the preliminary stats are, a 12,700 a month increase each month is unrealistic, so using the September numbers to estimate, we get fifteen months from September, or December 2021. This is more likely, but not as exciting as using the preliminary count. Chances are the true answer for when we will see record highs again is somewhere between the two extremes.

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