Transport & Logistics: Trucking industry employment declined for a fifth straight month in June 2016. The freight economy began to soften during the first quarter of 2016 – after an uptick in employment in January, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and driver demand weakened. Total employment for for-hire trucking fell by a noteworthy 6,300 jobs in June, according to a recent Department of Labor Employment Situation Report. Driver turnover rates also declined during the quarter, per the ATA, with turnover at large truckload fleets falling to an annualized rate of 89%. The turnover rate at small truckload carriers – fleets generating less than $30 million in annual revenue – came in at 88% during the same time frame. Turnover at less-than-truckload carriers, a small but growing part of the market, maintained its low rate, falling three points to just 8%.
Expansion by Amazon and other online retailers is boosting demand for warehouses in cities across the US, according to Bloomberg. E-commerce customers are becoming more accustomed to speedy shipping service, thanks in part to Amazon’s emphasis on same-day delivery, requiring retailers to find more warehouse space closer to population centers. The demand for warehouse space in cities is driving up rents: over the past year, prime warehouse rents are up nearly 10% across the US. The increase has been even greater in some large urban areas. Retailers that historically had one or two large warehouses in the middle of the country are now looking for smaller spaces in cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City to cut down their shipping times.
- The average US retail price for diesel and regular gas, a major operating cost for trucking fleets, fell 14.2% and 20.5%, respectively, in the week ending July 11, 2016, compared to the same week in 2015.
- Total US manufacturers’ shipments, an indicator of the volume of goods shipped by truck, fell 2.7% year-to-date in May 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
- Total US revenue for general freight trucking rose 2.9% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year.
Posted by Doug Nix.