The unemployment rate in the U.S. transportation sector continued to climb in December, rising above its rate for the same month last year and above its pre-pandemic level in 2019, government figures show.
The statistics come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s data recently updated on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Unemployment in Transportation dashboard. Those files show that the unemployment rate in the U.S. transportation sector was 4.5% (not seasonally adjusted) in December 2022, which is significantly higher than its levels of 3.6% in December 2021 and 2.8% in December 2019.
Transportation unemployment for December was also above the nation’s overall unemployment rate for the same period, which was 3.3%.
Despite that upward trend, all those marks remain far below the transportation sector’s highest unemployment level, achieved when it hit 15.7% during the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 and July 2020.
The BLS defines the unemployment rate as the total number of unemployed persons, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force. The civilian labor force includes all persons aged 16 and older who are employed and unemployed; in other words, either working or actively looking for work. Unemployed persons count only those who have actively sought a job within the last four weeks. People waiting to start a new job who have not actively sought a job in the last four weeks are not counted as employed or unemployed; they are considered to be out of the labor force.
The news comes as business conditions across the logistics sector continue to soften in the face of dropping inventory levels, rising interest rates, and historically high inflation.