The trucking industry is critical to “running America”. Without trucks, nothing gets moved, and if that was to happen, the country would stop functioning. However, the trucking industry also runs on consumerism, for without people consuming stuff that has to get moved, there are no jobs for truckers.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused massive interruptions to the supply chain. As a result, the first people affected after consumers are truckers, and Business Insider reports that over eighty-eight thousand truckers have lost their jobs with more potentially to come.
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. (source)