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Trucking sheds 88,300 jobs in April

May 11, 2020
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the truck transportation sector had 1,523,900 employees as of March. In April, that figure dropped to 1,435,600.

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on May 8. According to BLS data, the truck transportation sector lost a total of 88,300 positions in one month.

The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality.

According to BLS, the truck transportation sector had 1,523,900 employees as of March. In April, that figure dropped to 1,435,600.

In addition, freight rates have reached historic lows, creating uncertainty among small trucking businesses that they will survive the current economic downturn. The national average spot van rate hovered around $1.50 a mile last week, a four-year low despite improving freight volumes. Rates for refrigerated and flatbed loads hit their lowest points since early 2017, reported DAT Solutions, which operates industry’s largest load board network.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) sent a letter to Congress on May 6 urging immediate action to help truckers know they are being compensated fairly.

“The economic downturn caused by COVID-19 has resulted in significant over capacity in trucking. This has driven freight rates to historic lows,” OOIDA stated. “Truckers who have helped keep the nation safe, healthy and supplied, are now struggling mightily. Many small motor carriers and owner-operators are concerned their businesses will not survive the crisis.”

OOIDA added that a “long-time problem that has boiled over as a result of COVID-19 is the lack of transparency between brokers and motor carriers.” 

About the Author

FleetOwner Staff

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Kevin Jones, Editorial Director, Commercial Vehicle Group

Josh Fisher, Editor-in-Chief

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