According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of job openings in the U.S. transportation and warehousing industries increased by 23 percent year-over-year in January. While jobs are more readily available, these businesses lost more workers than they hired that month. According to non-adjusted data from the Labor Department, as of Jan. 31, there were 205,000 openings for jobs in the transportation, warehousing and utilities fields. The transportation job openings rate rose from 3.2 in January 2013 to 3.8 this year.
The data underscores increased demand for transportation and warehousing workers and rising labor and transportation cost pressures faced by shippers. A stronger economy is generating more freight demand and more jobs, but shippers’ transportation partners are having difficulties building capacity and hiring workers fast enough. This has pushed up wages, costs and rates.
Transportation and warehousing businesses hired 161,000 workers in January, the lowest number since last April. Those businesses, however, lost 299,000 workers who either quit or were let go. The recent spike in job openings is most likely due to the end of peak season employment, along with the elevated demand for additional capacity as shippers tackle the backlogged cargo resulting from congestion on the west coast.
With job openings rising and unemployment falling, U.S. employers are expected to begin raising wages as they compete for a diminishing number of prospective workers. Trucking companies in the U.S. are already raising driver pay and improving benefit packages. Read more about the status of trucking employment in the next article.