Logistics sector hiring kept up a brisk pace in July as delivery firms, trucking companies and warehouse operators added 15,600 jobs ahead of the peak shipping season.
Courier and messenger company payrolls rose by 7,600 jobs in July, the biggest monthly gain since March, according to preliminary figures the Labor Department released Friday, extending an expansion in transport operations driven by e-commerce and the home delivery of online purchases. It is the 18th straight month of gains in a sector that includes parcel carriers.
Warehouse and storage firms, where hiring has also has expanded under growing digital commerce grows, added 3,600 jobs last month.
Trucking companies hired 4,400 workers in July, gains that come as some carriers report turning down freight because they don’t have enough drivers.
Truck operators have added more than 27,000 jobs over the past 12 months despite what company officials say are big challenges recruiting and keeping drivers in a tight labor market. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., one of the largest U.S. truckers, boosted its head count by 16% in the second quarter from the same period in 2017, and expects shipping demand to grow in the fall.
Many transportation and logistics firms have been reporting near-record earnings, and companies say they are hustling to keep up with surging shipping demand amid the strongest freight market in years.
Transport companies also have been announcing wage increases this year, and industry experts say it could be several months before those wages gains trigger more hiring. “Carriers have to have profits sufficient enough to go out and recruit drivers,” said Matthew Harding, a vice president at Atlanta-based research and consulting group Chainalytics.
The broader U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in July, fewer than economists had expected, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%.
Gains included the manufacturing sector, where payrolls swelled by 37,000, led by growth in durable goods producing companies. Transportation equipment makers, including auto makers and heavy-duty truck manufacturers, added 13,000 jobs last month. Truck orders have been growing at a historic pace this year, and reached a record high in July, with nearly triple the orders from the same month last year.
The retail sector, boosted by strong growth in consumer sales in recent months, added 7,000 jobs.
Overall wages rose 2.7% in July year-over-year, but the transportation and warehousing sector has seen wages grow only a 1.9%.
Source :- Wsj.com