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Rail News: Labor

UP's hiring spree bucks rising U.S. unemployment rate


Although the U.S. unemployment rate in March rose 0.1 percent to 5.7 percent compared with February, Union Pacific Railroad is on a hiring binge.

Since fourth-quarter 2003, the Class I has hired thousands of train and engine-service workers, mechanics, electricians and laborers at more than 80 locations in 23 states. During 2004's first two months, UP hired 1,291 people, mostly as train and engine-service workers (the railroad currently employs about 20,000 engineers and conductors).

And UP officials expect the hiring trend to last through 2005 because of a manufacturing economy rebound.

"We hired more than 2,300 employees in 2003, and need to hire 4,000 more by the end of 2004," said Senior Vice President of Human Resources Barb Schaefer in a prepared statement. "Increases in our industrial products, agriculture, intermodal container and energy business are putting pressure on us to move more trains, and we need good people to help us do that."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/5/2004