September jobs report offers good news for trucking industry

The U.S. economy has been relatively slow to get back on its feet ever since the Great Recession. However, the most recent employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) implies good news for businesses that depend on heavy-duty transportation vehicles to transport goods across the continent. In fact, now is an opportune time for companies to invest in fleet management software that streamlines the routing process and reduces overhead costs.

According to a press release from the BLS, U.S. employers added a total of 148,000 new jobs in September, causing the national unemployment rate to fall relatively insignificantly from 7.3 to 7.2 percent. The New York Times reported these latest numbers slow the momentum created through previous month's labor reports.

"The labor market lost, rather than gained, momentum over the summer, leaving us with less than a desirable cushion just as the government was shuttered in response to political shenanigans," Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, a consulting firm, told the Times.

Good news for the trucking industry
Despite the relatively tepid national employment report, certain industries made larger gains this month than others. In fact, the Times said the most substantial increases in hiring came from fleet-dependent industries, such as construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported manufacturers of durable goods added a net total of 9,000 jobs. Similarly, businesses that fabricate metal goods added 6,300 jobs.

These numbers come as good news to companies that rely on large fleets of vehicles to transport raw materials and heavy machinery to various regions throughout the U.S. As employment picks up in the manufacturing industry, fleet managers can expect a significant increase in demand for transportation activity. However, such growth comes with risks of its own. For example, the more trips companies are responsible for organizing, the harder it can be to control fuel costs and maximize efficiency.

Advanced tools such as trucking software or route optimization software can make it easier for businesses to organize available vehicles and make prudent decisions when planning runs. They can also substantially reduce travel times, thereby leading to increases in customer satisfaction. Managers must think critically about how they can take full advantage of these recent gains in economic activity while simultaneously reducing overhead business costs. Making such investments in the early stages of economic growth can lead to substantial earnings in the long term.