How many jobs did the trucking industry gain or lose in the past month or year?

Federal data can provide a glimpse to that answer. Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a sampling of payrolls in various sectors to estimate shifts in the United States’ employment situation. Economists and industry executives alike use this data to check the pulse of the economy, and forecast future trends.

Some of the most useful data is hidden in the federal database, though. As a result, Transport Dive has pulled together two charts to help trucking executives with their forecasting needs.

Trucking industry lost an estimated 1,700 jobs in November, compared to the previous month

All employees in truck transportation, not seasonally adjusted

In addition to overall employment trends, the BLS also estimates payroll jobs in several subsectors such as local, LTL and TL freight trucking or jobs dedicated to office and household goods moving.

The BLS releases these estimates a month after the headline figure, which is shown in a chart above. So if you are looking at this table in December, the latest available data is likely for October.

Long-distance TL saw the largest annual job gains in October

A preliminary estimate of jobs for trucking subsectors, plus their share of total industry jobs and twelve-month gains or losses.

A note on the data

The data used in this story was retrieved from the BLS’ Current Employment Statistics, which provides monthly estimates based on payroll data.

While the data is helpful to estimate workforce gains and losses, there are a few caveats worth noting:

  • Payroll data excludes thousands of drivers who are not on company payrolls. As such, shifts in this dataset do not always mean there is less capacity on the road.

  • The BLS provides both seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted monthly jobs estimates. The agency notes its adjusted data can eliminate expected seasonal cycles.

Historical data can be retrieved from the BLS by using the series report tool. Transport Dive used this tool to retrieve employment figures from the past 10 years for each of the following data series:

  • All employees, thousands, truck transportation, not seasonally adjusted (CEU4348400001)

  • All employees, thousands, general freight trucking, local, not seasonally adjusted (CEU4348411001)

  • All employees, thousands, general freight trucking, long-distance TL, not seasonally adjusted (CEU4348412101)

  • All employees, thousands, general freight trucking, long-distance LTL, not seasonally adjusted (CEU4348412201)

  • All employees, thousands, used household and office goods moving, not seasonally adjusted CEU4348421001)

  • All employees, thousands, other specialized trucking, local, not seasonally adjusted (CEU4348422001)

  • All employees, thousands, other specialized trucking, long-distance, not seasonally adjusted (CEU4348423001)

Editor's note: Do you know of other caveats to this data? Is there other information you would like to see visualized? We’d love to hear your thoughts, email us at [email protected]