Workers in the transportation and warehousing industry lost 14,000 jobs in January, according to the latest jobs report by the U.S. Department of Labor's statistics bureau.
Outpacing those losses, employees of courier and messenger companies decreased by 19,000 jobs, a significant decline following strong numbers during the holiday season.
Air transportation workers took the smallest hit, losing only 5,000 jobs in January.
While transportation employment was down across the board, construction employment — a good measure of overall economic health and a possible harbinger of increased trucking activity — shot up by 28,000 people during the month. Residential and commercial contractors gained 26,000 of those jobs. Construction labor has rode a wave since its all-time peak in April 2006 and nadir in January 2011. Last month’s numbers remained 2 million workers shy of the April high-water mark. - Jon Ross