Employers adding jobs, considering new investments

Unemployment is slowly dropping, though not as quickly as many struggling individuals would like. While some industries have held off on hiring new employees, the transportation industry is not one of them. Labor shortages have made it more important for fleet managers to optimize available resources with route planning software and ensure drivers complete pickups and deliveries in a timely fashion.

Hiring ticks up
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced American employers increased their payrolls by 162,000 in July. While this is a low increase compared to those seen in recent months, the unemployment rate did fall from 7.6 percent to a four-and-a-half year low of 7.4 percent.

For-hire trucking companies added 6,300 jobs in July, indicating shipments are on the rise and businesses need to keep up with demand by bringing on new workers. According to The Associated Press (AP), the industry has added 17,000 jobs since the beginning of 2013.

According to a new poll from Financial Executives International and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business showed plenty of CFOs are interested in adding staff members in the coming months. Sixty-one percent of respondents plan on hiring employees within the next six months and 72 percent got through the past year without laying off employees. Employers are also confident in the slow drop in jobless claims and anticipate the unemployment rate will fall to 7.3 within the year.

Increasing optimism leads to more investments
Many experts anticipated growth in the first half of the year would be slower, due to government sequestration, higher tax rates and a still sluggish economy. However, there have been many suggestions there the remainder of the year will be better for economic growth, as consumers and businesses grow more confident and holiday spending provides a much needed boost.

Company higher-ups certainly seem positive about the future. The Financial Executives International and Baruch College poll revealed many corporate financial decision-makers are optimistic about the months ahead. The survey found the quarterly optimism index jumped from 67.1 in quarter one 2013 to 70.7 in quarter two 2013. CFOs expect an 11 percent leap in net earnings in the next 12 months, along with an 8 percent gain in revenue.

To help cope with the demand for services, those surveyed expressed a strong interest in investing in new technology that could help streamline business processes and better overall performance. More than half of respondents are considering making company investments in the coming year. For some businesses, this may mean beefing up cybersecurity or enhancing marketing tactics, but for transportation companies, it could mean purchasing route optimization software. Such technology allows managers to better utilize available resources and cut down on time spent planning the most direct route.