After the recent release of May employment numbers from the U.S. government, talk was somewhat doom-and-gloomy. Fortunately, there was one bright spot for those of us in the commercial warehousing industry. According to Joc.com, the report found that warehousing and storage businesses added approximately 3,000 jobs from April to May. That marks a 6.5% year-over-year increase, as well as the 29th straight month of job growth in the warehousing sector.In an economy that’s still teetering on the brink of recovery and/or imminent collapse — depending on who you’re talking to — those are exceptional numbers. While this appears to be good news for warehousing and distribution, there was another facet of the jobs report that was not particularly positive.
Jobs in the commercial warehousing and for-hire trucking industry fell for the third time this year. Overall, the trucking industry lost about 2,400 jobs over the same time span and 5,400 since January. In contrast, commercial warehouse and distribution warehouse space added over 14,000 jobs since January. When you combine storage businesses with commercial warehouses, the number increases to 132,500 jobs added since January.
“The contrast between rising warehousing employment and stuttering trucking recruitment reflects tight warehouse capacity, rising e-commerce orders, loose truckload capacity and soft demand for industrial freight and brick-and-mortar retail goods,” wrote JOC’s senior editor, Bill Cassidy. “It’s a shift in the distribution landscape that transportation providers are struggling to cope with in 2016.”
Even speculative building, in which many people in the industrial warehouse space engage, apparently hasn’t done much to derail the commercial warehousing industry. The growth numbers are even better when you consider that the U.S. job market took a hit overall. Economists were hopeful that recent job growth numbers would continue (160,000 across all industries in April), but unfortunately, they were wrong (38,000 in total in May).
While the trucking and transportation industry will likely struggle over the next few months, commercial warehousing appears to be doing all right. This is good news for the estimated 166,907 men and women who work in the U.S. storage and warehouse leasing industry. Recent estimates put the storage and warehouse leasing industry worth an estimated $26 billion.