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Airline Payrolls Hit Lowest Level In 15 Years

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Airline employee payrolls are on the decline. The Dallas Morning News writes “with more layoffs yet to come, U.S. passenger airlines employed 394,300 people in October, the lowest total in 15 years, the federal government said Thursday. October’s numbers are down 5.6%, or nearly 24,000 jobs, from a year earlier.” The Dayton Daily News says “it was the fourth consecutive decrease in full-time equivalent employee levels from the same month of the prior year. It represented the largest year-to-year decrease since July 2006, according to the government, which relies on data provided by the airlines.”

The Pittsburgh Business Times notes the declines come as “airlines have been cutting back flights, operations and jobs in response to high energy costs earlier this year and lower demand for travel from consumers and businesses.” Forbes/AP notes “job numbers continued to be more steady at low-cost carriers, several of which added workers, than at the older network airlines.” On that note, the San Francisco Business Times says Southwest “is among the U.S. carriers that have bucked the trend, expanding its work force by 5% during the last year.” JetBlue and Alaska Air also reported growing workforces, according to the Morning News.

The airline with the biggest job cuts? That would be United, which the Morning News says “led the list with 5,200 fewer full-time equivalent employees in October compared with a year earlier, dropping 9.9% to 47,200.” And, overall, the airline industry outlook may not improve anytime soon. The Morning News predicts “the numbers will only get worse in the next few months as the airlines complete the layoffs and system shrinkage they had announced last spring and summer.”

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