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Transportation Unemployment Down to Pre-Pandemic Levels

The US transportation sector continues to show encouraging signs of recovery. Last month, transportation sector unemployment dropped to 3.6%. This rate represents a return to pre-pandemic levels. In April 2019, the unemployment rate in this sector was 3.7%.

Transportation unemployment peaked when it reached a shocking 15.7% during May and June of 2020. Since then, the unemployment rate has seen a steady decrease. Last year at this time, the unemployment rate in this sector was 7.5%.

Though the transportation sector’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than overall unemployment, its employment gains are encouraging. The sector added an estimated 52,000 jobs in a month. In addition, women in transportation saw a 5.2 percentage point gain in employment from last year. This brought their employment rates nearly in line with men’s, with unemployment for women at 3.8% and men’s at 3.6%.

The transportation sector has seen its fair share of problems recently, from constantly rising diesel prices to hang-ups at the border. However, it seems as though unemployment is not one of those issues.

Transportation sector unemployment reflects overall good employment numbers

Overall employment has continued to see solid growth, though experts expect that growth to slow. April saw some 428,000 jobs added to the economy, marking the 11th straight month in which 400,000 or more jobs were added. The US has regained nearly all of the staggering 22 million jobs it lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, economists have concerns that the speedy rate of job growth could worsen inflation in the coming months. Unit labor costs, which reflect worker compensation and productivity, rose 11.6% in the first quarter, among the worst productivity losses in 75 years. Wage growth has been rising for some time, but too much wage growth can reduce corporate profits to unsustainable levels. This will cause businesses to raise prices, worsening an already alarming inflation crisis.

Though inflation has begun to slow due to federal interest rate hikes, American consumers are still struggling to pay for essentials like food, housing, and gasoline. Experts hope that slowing job growth to around 100,000 per month will reduce the risk of pushing inflation even higher.

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