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The latest government update shows a loss of 14,400 jobs for the first month of the year. Thinkstock

February spike in trucking jobs doesn't offset January decline

The good news is trucking posted a gain of more than 10,000 jobs in February. The bad news is the large increase doesn’t make up for the substantial downward revision to January’s total: The latest government update shows a loss of 14,400 jobs for the first month of the year. This comes after a six-month run up to a record high to close 2016.

The February rebound puts the for-hire trucking total at 1.47 million, that’s 237,200 (19.2%) more trucking jobs than were reported in March 2010, the low point in the economic downturn, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The new total is 16,100 more jobs than in February last year.

This comes as the overall U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, considered by economists to be a solid gain. The national unemployment rate slipped slightly to 4.7%, a rate near what the Federal Reserve considers to be “full employment,” opening the door for an anticipated increase of the government’s benchmark interest rate.

Collectively, transportation and warehousing gained 8,800 jobs for the month as the trucking surge was offset by small losses in most other sectors.

In the broader economy, mild winter weather drove a spike in construction jobs, up 58,000, with gains in specialty trade contractors (+36,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+15,000). Construction has added 177,000 jobs over the past 6 months.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in February. Employment rose in food manufacturing (+9,000) and machinery (+7,000) but fell in transportation equipment (-6,000). Over the past 3 months, manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government showed little or no change over the month, according to the report.

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