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The unemployment rate in the U.S. transportation sector was 5.7% (not seasonally adjusted) last month, according to analysis of recently updated data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) Unemployment in Transportation dashboard.
September’s rate was down nearly 50% from September 2020’s 11.3%, but remained above the 3.3% rate in pre-pandemic September 2019, BTS officials said in a press release.
To date, the transportation unemployment rate peak during the COVID-19 pandemic is 15.7% set in both May and July 2020, while the general U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 14.4% in April 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, the unemployment rate for the U.S. transportation sector has been higher than the general U.S. unemployment rate, with a difference ranging from 0.2 percentage points in June 2021 to 5.2 percentage points in July 2020. With a general U.S. unemployment rate of 4.8%, the gap in September is 0.9 percentage points.
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.
To review the BTS Unemployment in Transportation dashboard, click here.