It’s official now. The latest Labor Department unemployment numbers make it clear that we are seeing the worst employment recovery from recession since at least 1948.
New Labor Department numbers show that the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.2% in June, with the economy adding just 18,000 jobs. That’s a fraction of the 90,000 new jobs that economists had predicted.
The Obama Administration continues to offer no real solutions beyond calling for more federal spending and higher taxes. President Obama faces reelection in 16 months, and history shows that no president has been reelected when the jobless rate was greater than 7.2%.
Against this backdrop of climbing unemployment, tank truck carriers, and other trucking companies, are struggling to find enough good drivers to keep the tractor-trailer rigs rolling. By some estimates, the driver shortage could be in the 200,000 range and rising.
The traditional driver source—white males aged 35 to 54—shrank by about three million over the past decade. Lack of drivers is one factor that has cut fleet capacity in recent years. Clearly, the welcome mat is out, and many trucking companies are looking for drivers.
The oil and gas industry also has been hiring workers, and the pace could accelerate with a little help from the Obama Administration. “If the president wants to put thousands of Americans to work ‘right now,’ as he said recently, we urge him to speed up oil and gas permiting in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and elsewhere, and approve the Keystone XL pipeline project,” says Jack Gerard, American Petroleum Institute president and chief executive officer. “That could put thousands of Americans in jobs this year (including truck drivers). Greater access to America’s oil and natural gas could multiple these job numbers over time while generating hundreds of billions of dollars in additional revenue for our government.”
Gerard added a cautionary note: “We’re ready to invest to create jobs, support economic growth, increase government revenues, bolster retirement benefits, and enhance domestic energy security. But we can only do this if the government gives us a green light. We urge the president and Congress to recognize our industry as a powerful part of the solution as they seek a deal on the debt limit and the overall budget.”