Friday, December 18, 2009

Rail employment index at year's low point

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The railroad employment index reached its lowest point this year in November as total Class I employment declined to 147,047, down 1.29% from October and off 9.77% from November 2008.

The employment index, based on 1967 as 100, fell to 24.1. (Employment in November 1967 was 593,568.) The previous low this year was 24.5, in both October and November. The index in January 2009 was 26.2.

Comparisons with November 2008 showed declines in all six job categories: executives, officials, and staff assistants, -10.34%; professional and administrative, -1.58%; maintenance of way and structures, -6.34%; maintenance of equipment and stores, -7.42%; transportation (other than train and engine), -1.99%; and  transportation (train and engine), -15.0%.

The last category, which supplies operating train crews, is particularly important since it is the single biggest group (numbering 56,447 in November) and had the largest percentage drop.