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Rail News: Labor

U.S. Class I workforce swells a smidgen in May, STB says

Make it four months in a row. In May, the U.S. Class I workforce increased slightly vs. April's total, the fourth straight month the large roads employed more people compared with the previous month.

As of mid-May, the Class Is employed 165,299, up 0.4 percent compared with mid-April's total, according to Surface Transportation Board data. However, the workforce total represented a 1.5 percent decline on a year-over-year basis.

The maintenance-of-way and structures workforce totaling 35,689 rose 1.1 percent compared with mid-April's count, posting the largest month-over-month gain. The workforce also inched up 0.2 percent vs. last year — the only segment to register a year-over-year increase.

Transportation (train and engine) ranks totaling 68,739 rose 0.3 percent compared with mid-April's total, but declined 2.4 percent compared with May 2007's count. Likewise, transportation (other than T&E) staff totaling 6,654 rose 0.5 percent month over month, but plunged 7.6 percent year over year.

Meanwhile, maintenance of equipment and stores workers in mid-May totaled 30,445, up 0.3 percent vs. mid-April's count and down 0.6 percent compared with May 2007's total. Professional and administrative staff totaling 13,702 represented a 0.2 percent increase vs. mid-April's level and 0.7 percent decrease year over year.

Finally, executives, officials and staff assistants totaling 10,070 were flat compared with mid-April's count, but down 1 percent vs. May 2007's level.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/1/2008