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Post Info TOPIC: BNSF, CSX drive first gain in Class I workforce since July


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BNSF, CSX drive first gain in Class I workforce since July
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BNSF, CSX drive first gain in Class I workforce since July

(The following story by John Boyd appeared on the Journal of Commerce website on March 22, 2010.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. Employment grew slightly in February among the seven largest U.S. railroads, for the first time since last July and only the second time since October 2008.

Although most major railroads continued to shed jobs last month, the top carriers as a group added 699 to bring their workforce total to 146,308, according to reports filed with the Surface Transportation Board.

BNSF Railway in the West added nearly 900 workers, while CSX Transportation in the East added 150 from mid-January.

All five of the other Class I railroads continued to trim their employee totals. Those were Union Pacific Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway, the U.S. operations of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways, and Kansas City Southern Railway.

Those reports, which count payroll employment as of mid-month, showed the Class I lines adding train crews and track maintenance workers the two largest employee categories -- from the midpoint in January, while trimming equipment maintenance and executive ranks.

The latest workforce level for the largest class of U.S. railroads is 24 percent of the average in the 1967 base year, when the STB began tracking the data. Januarys 145,609 had been a new low since the recession began at 23.7 percent of the 1967 average.

Since a rail freight slowdown began in 2007, the top seven lines have cut more than 21,000 positions. Their employment totaled nearly 168,000 in May 2007, but in 2008 when the recession began the May peak was a little over 165,000.

Workforce totals moved generally downward for months afterward. After the autumn financial crisis took hold they began a steady drop from October to July 2009, when new work rules briefly bumped job levels higher, and again from July to now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010



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