CSX Transportation is hiring roughly 380 workers in Alabama, Maryland and Tennessee, the latest sign of the railroad industry’s strong financial health and graying work force.
Class I railroads are expected to hire more than 15,000 people this year, with most of the hires being a response to attrition, according to the Association of American Railroads. About 30 percent of the major railroad work force is eligible to retire over the next five years.
Employment at major North American railroads in mid-February grew 3 percent year-over-year to 159,228 workers, according to statistics submitted by the railroads to the Surface Transportation Board. The largest increase in hiring was of executives, officials and staff assistants, up nearly 3.68 percent year-over-year.
The work force responsible for trains and engines saw the second-largest employment growth in mid-February, expanding 3.65 percent year-over-year. Professional and administrative employment expanded at the smallest rate, growing approximately 0.8 percent in the same period.
CSX, which employs about 29,140, said the new workers are needed to handle freight growth, maintain existing infrastructure and implement federally mandated crash-avoidance technology, according to reports. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company expects to report record first quarter earnings April 17.