88,300 truck drivers lost their jobs in April, and it's the biggest trucking job loss on record

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Approximately 88,300 truck drivers lost their jobs in April.

It's the biggest single-month loss of trucking jobs on record, according to data extending back to January 1990 .

April wiped out all trucking employments gained during the past five years and a half years, bringing the industry back to its employment numbers in November 2014.

The rest of the April jobs report, which was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 8, was similarly jarring . Some 20.5 million payrolls were cut in April, which is 25 times larger than the worst monthly decline seen during the recession in the late 2000s.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate is now 14.7%, its highest since the Great Depression.

While truck drivers have been deemed "essential" workers during the coronavirus pandemic, freight volumes and rates have collapsed this year.

Much of the economy, most notably manufacturing, is at a standstill. As a result, trucks aren't moving. Nearly three-quarters of all freight by weight is moved by truck in the US, so if goods aren't being purchased or moved, truck drivers are out of work.

Because of the coronavirus shutdowns, the trucking industry is on the cusp of a "freight cliff," according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency report obtained by Politico . The rate of moving goods via truck has fallen to the lowest levels seen since 2009, Cass Information Systems said last month.

The coronavirus is just the latest in challenges for the trucking industry. Trucking had a rough 2019, with drivers like Chad Boblett in Lexington, Kentucky, saying the industry is in a "bloodbath." In the first half of 2019, around 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, according to industry data from Broughton Capital. That's more than triple the amount of bankruptcies from the same period the year before 175.

The 2019 trucking recession was also spurred by the decline in manufacturing. The Institute of Supply Management said manufacturing contracted for several months last year; in October, the index slipped to its lowest level since June 2009 .

But 2020 is making even the worst months of the 2019 trucking "bloodbath" look wimpy. In August of 2019, trucking companies slashed some 5,100 payrolls the worst decline seen last year. Meanwhile, 16 times as many drivers lost their jobs in April.

Do you work in trucking? Email rpremack@businessinsider.com .

See Also:


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke