Monday, March 22, 2010

Class I rail employment on a slow climb back

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The numbers are small and the percentage improvement is almost infinitesimal, but they both headed in the right direction: up. That's the Class railroad employment picture that emerges from statistics just posted on the Surface Transportation Board website.

They show that between mid-January and mid-February thisyear, Class I railroad employment rose from 145,609 to 146.308, an increase of 699 jobs or 0.48%, though the total remained 6.81% below February 2009. This brought the railroad employment index (using 1957 levels as 100) up from 23.7 in January to 24.0 in February, the highest it's been when June 2009, when it was also 24.0.

In the key category of transportation (train and engine)—operating crews—the railroads added 489 joss during the period, with the total number increasing from 55,876 in January to 56,355 in February, up 0.86% but down 8.12% from a year ago.

In other employment groups, this was the mid-February picture, compared with the previous month: executives, officials, and staff assistants, 8,977, down 11.43%; professional and administrative, 13,266, down 2.76%; maintenance of way and structures, 32,833, down 4,53%; maintenance of equipment and stores, 28,066, down 7.4%; and transportation (other than train and engine), 6,811, down 5.07%.