Employment in Transportation:

Unemployment in the Transportation and Warehousing Sector and in Transportation and Material Moving Occupations 

Employment in transportation and related industries and employment in transportation occupations are two ways to measure the Nation’s transportation workforce. This page looks at total unemployment rates in transportation and warehousing sector and transportation and material moving occupations and breaks them down by sex. See our pages on monthly employment in the transportation sector by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity and employment by transportation mode and sex.

Data presented on this page are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly household level survey conducted by the Census Bureau for BLS. It provides data on the labor force, employment, unemployment, persons not in the labor force, hours of work, earnings, and other demographic and labor force characteristics. See data sources on transportation employment and workforce characteristics for more information about the survey and a comparison to other sources.

Total unemployment rates reported on this page are seasonally adjusted. Seasonal adjustment is the process of estimating and removing movement in a time series caused by regular seasonal variation in activity. Seasonally adjusted data are not available for total unemployment in transportation and by sex and hence unadjusted numbers are reported on this page. For unadjusted data, monthly changes are only calculated from the same month last year to minimize the effect of seasonal variation.


Total Unemployment in Transportation by Month (not seasonally adjusted)
Current statistics provide us with two ways to measure unemployment in transportation: (1) unemployment in the transportation and warehousing sector and (2) unemployment in transportation and material moving occupations. The former captures unemployed persons previously working in the transportation and warehousing sector. The latter counts unemployed persons previously working in any sector — not just in the transportation and warehousing sector — in a transportation occupation.


Total Unemployment in Transportation | Unemployed Men and Women Workers in Transportation | Unemployed by Mode  | Reasons for Unemployment
Unemployed Men and Women Workers in Transportation (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
When looking at transportation and material moving occupations, women tend to experience a higher unemployment rate than men. That difference is less within the transportation and warehousing sector, although women still experience higher unemployment rates than men.
See our pages on employment by transportation mode and sex and by race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Unemployment by Mode (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Unemployment rates differ across transportation modes. Seasonal variation and events affecting a specific mode contribute to these differences. For example, COVID-19 caused greater unemployment in passenger than freight modes due to reduced demand and service cuts among passenger modes.

Reasons for Unemployment (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Recessions and shocks to the economy, such as COVID-19, often cause unemployment to rise due to increased layoffs. The share of unemployment due to layoffs therefore is an economic indicator in addition to the unemployment rate itself.

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U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.