Friday, June 18, 2010

Rail employment still below pre-recession levels

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While U.S. Class I railroad employment continues its slow recovery from the depths of the economic downturn last year, the numbers remain significantly below pre-recession levels, a study of Surface Transportation Board reports for the last three years reveals.

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The latest report, released by the STB Thursday, shows that total Class I employment in May 2010, 149,067, was down by 1.04% from May 2009 but off 10.13% from May 2008’s total of 165,269.

Operating crew employment has been hardest hit. May 2010’s figure of 58,764 was up 14.9% from last May but down 14.5% from May 2008’s 68,739.

Maintenance of way and structures, an activity that a well-kept and safe railroad finds hard to cut, fared far better. The May 2010 number, 34,443, was up 0.22% from April 2010 and down only 1.5% from May 2008’s 35,689.

Maintenance of equipment and stores employment, 28,139 in May this year, was down 4.80% from April and off 7.4% from May 2008.

Employment in the transportation (other than train and engine) group, 6,494 in May 2010, was down 0.86% from April and off 1.6% from May 2008.