Transportation Jobs Showed Little Growth in August

Jobs in the transportation sector showed little growth in August, according to the Department of Labor’s monthly update.

The heavy and civil engineering sector lost about 5,500 jobs in August, putting them down 88,500 since the onset of COVID-19 (seasonally adjusted, which is a big deal in construction and other outdoor jobs). And the manufacturing of transportation equipment sector lost 8,400 jobs, putting them down almost 143,000 since February. In both instances, the number of jobs lost since February is just over 8 percent.

On the services side, jobs in the transit and ground passenger transportation sector were up 3.4 percent in August over July (+11,400 jobs), but they are still down 31.5 percent (-160,100) since the crisis began. Truckers are doing better – jobs in truck transportation were up by 10,000 in August versus July, and they are only down by 5.1 percent since the onset of COVID.

Air transportation jobs were up by 7,500 in August versus July, +1.9 percent, but are they still down 21 percent on the year. Moreover, those gains would be dwarfed by upwards of 50,000 planned layoffs and furloughs in the airline industry that will take place on October 1 without Congressional intervention, once the grace period attached to the CARES Act’s aid package runs out. (The distribution of these announced layoffs is interesting. Southwest says it won’t let anyone go on October 1, Delta is furloughing pilots but not flight attendants, etc.)

By comparison, there are still 3.5 million people in the hospitality sector (bars/restaurants, accommodation, amusements/gambling/recreation) out of work since the onset of COVID, and over 900 thousand local government employees.

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