Trucking Industry Faces Significant Job Losses Amid Persistent Freight Demand Downturn

Trucking Industry Faces Significant Job Losses Amid Persistent Freight Demand Downturn

The trucking industry experienced a notable decline in employment, shedding a seasonally-adjusted 5,400 jobs in May compared to the previous month. This data, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, marks the largest single-month job reduction in the sector since August 2023, bringing the total decrease to 29,600 jobs over the past year.

This decline stands in stark contrast to the broader U.S. economy, which added 272,000 jobs in the same period, according to BLS.

Truck drivers are navigating one of the longest downturns in the U.S. domestic freight market in recent history. An oversupply of drivers, attracted to the industry during the COVID-19-induced boom in freight demand, is now competing for limited cargo, driving prices down.

Industry experts suggest that the decreasing employment numbers indicate that small companies and independent owner-operators, who entered the market during the high-demand period, are now exiting as profitability declines.

“Having drivers leave the market is beneficial because it helps raise rates,” said Paul Svindland, CEO of STG Logistics, a privately held logistics provider based in Bensenville, Illinois.

The freight sector has been struggling for nearly two years due to weak freight demand and low cargo rates. “The downturn has lasted longer than any of us anticipated,” said Derek Leathers, CEO of Werner Enterprises, a truckload carrier, at a Wolfe Research transportation conference last month.

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