Despite a slowed freight sector and a weakened economy this spring, the largest freight railroads added 745 workers to their U.S. payrolls in May, marking the slowest gain in the rail workforce since January.
Four of the seven Class I railroads made mild additions to their work force while three trimmed staff as of the first mid-month payroll in May, according to reports filed to the Surface Transportation Board.
A month earlier, all seven carriers reported adding workers from mid-March to mid-April, for a total increase of 935 jobs. Earlier this year, the U.S. operations of Class I railroads added 1,340 employees in March and 1,198 in February after cutting 1,096 jobs in January.
The latest figures reflect a hiring slowdown for top railroads at a time when several were battling shipment delays from floods and other storms in late April and early May, and when demand for bothintermodal and bulk carload freight was running below levels earlier in the spring. However, by the end of May intermodal traffic reached new 2011 peaks.
Those adding workers from mid-April to mid-May were Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway and the U.S. Soo Line unit of Canadian Pacific Railway. Those making trims were CSX Transportation, Canadian National Railway’s U.S. operations and Kansas City Southern Railway.
Among worker categories, there were gains in all operating groups – train crews, maintenance workers and other transportation employees – in May while executive and administrative staffs declined.