Just three of the seven largest railroads operating in the U.S. added workers in the mid-September to mid-October period, for a net increase of 191 employees in the Class I work force.
Reports filed with the Surface Transportation Board show the U.S. operations of Class I carriers had a combined head count of 154,285 employees as of the first payroll in October. That was the highest level since March 2009, when the industry had 154,960 on its rosters.
However, the increase of just 191 more employees in the latest month is one of the weakest increases so far in 2010, at a point when those railroads were coming off their strongest weeks for intermodal loadings - which peaked in September -- and seeing some slowdown in industrial cargoes as well.
The Class Is added 1,386 workers from mid-August to mid-September, when traffic was rebounding after a summer lull. Since last December, those seven carriers have trimmed their workforce in two months - May and August - and added a net 165 in January, but otherwise the October reading would be the slowest growth month of this year.
Union Pacific Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway and the U.S. lines of Canadian National Railway each added some employees. But it was barely enough to offset mild declines at BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway and the U.S. operations of Canadian Pacific Railway.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at email@example.com.