The top seven railroads in the U.S. added just 218 jobs from mid-April to mid-May, the smallest increase since the Class I carriers began adding jobs in February.
Four of them actually trimmed payrolls, according to reports they file with the Surface Transportation Board. Those were Union Pacific Railroad, CSX Transportation, Canadian National Railway and Kansas City Southern.
And the largest gain came from one of the smallest employers in the group, the U.S. operations of Canadian Pacific Railway, which operates track networks in the northern Great Plains region. BNSF Railway and Norfolk Southern Railway added small numbers of workers.
That hiring slowdown corresponds with a sluggish period for rail freight traffic after many types of cargoes peaked in mid- to late April. Bulk railcar loadings of most industrial commodities and semi-finished goods have kept below their April peaks during May and early June, although rail hauls of intermodal containers and trailers have continued to climb.
U.S. Rail Cargo: Find more information at By The Numbers.
The mid-month reports are a snapshot of employment levels as of the first payroll of each month. The STB does not track Class I employment outside the U.S., and does not tally jobs of short line railroads or passenger train operators.
In all, the Class Is reported 149,967 workers on their payrolls in mid-May, up 0.15 percent from April but down 1.04 percent from May 2009. The latest monthly gain of 218 workers for the group compares with increases of 1,783 in April, 1,658 in March and 699 in February.
The major railroads in May slightly trimmed their largest worker group of train and engine crews plus workers who maintain equipment and executives or their assistants. They added track maintenance workers, professional staff and transport workers other than onboard train crews.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at email@example.com.