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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Transportation Sector Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.7% in September 2021 from August's 6.4%, Remains Above Pre-Pandemic September 2019’s 3.3%

Friday, October 8, 2021

The unemployment rate in the U.S. transportation sector was 5.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in September 2021 according to analysis of recently updated data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the BTS Unemployment in Transportation dashboard. The September 2021 rate was down nearly 50% from September 2020’s 11.3 percent but remains above the 3.3 percent rate in pre-pandemic September 2019.

To date, the transportation unemployment rate peak during the COVID-19 pandemic is 15.7 percent set in both May and July 2020 while the general U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 14.4 percent 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 percent, the gap in September is 0.9 percentage points.


In addition to the update of the Unemployment in Transportation dashboard, BTS also released monthly updates to its Employment in Transportation: Total, by Mode, and Women, and Race and Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity of Transportation Workers dashboards.

Charts Updated this Month by Transportation-related Sections include:

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

Monthly Employment in the Transportation and Warehousing Sector, Establishment Data

Monthly Employment in the Transportation and Warehousing Sector by Race and Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity, Household Data


Updates Upcoming on Friday, October 15:

  • Reasons for Unemployment in Transportation
  • Unemployment by Mode of Transportation


Visit Transportation Economic Trends for more topics.

Contact: Todd Solomon (202) 366-0573,