E-commerce continues to grow, and while it has impacted the global economy, the transportation and logistics industry, in particular, have felt the effects. Many in the trucking industry have been critical about the pressure e-commerce places on drivers. As consumers expect faster deliveries, and online shopping platforms promise them, it is up to trucking companies to meet them. When it comes to logistics though, e-commerce has caused the industry to rise.
In April, employment in distribution centers rose, primarily thanks to e-commerce demands. According to the US Labor Department, warehousing and storage companies added 5,400 jobs last month, the fourth straight month of growth. These jobs include ones in fulfillment centers that process and ship online orders. In total, the sector has added nearly 70,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
This surge of new hiring in the logistics industry isn’t surprising. E-commerce has been rapidly growing for years. In 2018, US online sales increased by 14.2% and generated an estimated $513.6 billion USD.
As more consumers shop online, companies have rushed to open up more fulfillment centers. These fulfillment centers, often located near major population centers for speedy deliveries, have accounted for major job growth in the sector. In certain major distribution cities, such as Northern New Jersey, Atlanta, and Indianapolis, companies have struggled to find enough workers to meet demand.
Despite the pressure of short delivery times, the trucking industry has also seen growth from e-commerce. The rise of last mile fulfillment centers has led to more local deliveries. The transportation industry has been suffering from a truck driver shortage, but with last-mile trips being more appealing, the industry may be able to lure more drivers. Overall, transportation and warehousing companies added 11,100 jobs, including 5,100 transit and ground passenger transport positions.
The transportation and logistics industry may soon see another boost. E-commerce giant, Amazon recently announced their plans to make one-day free shipping the standard for its Prime members. As of right now, Amazon Prime members get two-day free shipping. Amazon plans to invest $800 million to make this possible.