The railway layoffs again in November, falling to its lowest level in decades, traffic has fallen by 17% since 2006, and stocks have soared to record highs.

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North American Class 1 freight railroads-BNSF, Union Pacific, Southern Norfolk, CSX, Canadian Nationals, Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific-have been layoffs since 2015, and since November, they laid off another 1.6% in November. According to data released by the independent federal agency, the Ground Transportation Board (STB), the company’s total number of employees has dropped to 114,960. This is the lowest number in decades.
The number of employees in November decreased by 13.7% from the same period last year, 22% from the Great Depression low (147,000) at the end of 2009, and 33.5% from the recent high in April 2015 (174,000):
The railway submits employment data and a series of other operational data to the set-top box every month. I excluded Amtrak (National Railway Passenger Transport Company) because it is not a freight railway (too much staff reduction).
As early as 1997, this was a far cry from the data released by STB, and the railway employed 178,000 employees. In 1998, the railway sector employed 180,000 people. The number of employed persons in November was 36% lower than in 1998. The following chart shows the number of employees employed by Type 1 railways each year in December, but when I used November it was 2020 (in recent years, the number has further declined from November to December):
Compared with last November, every Tier 1 railway company will lay off employees according to the number of remaining employees:
Since September 2016 (this is the monthly railway data for set-top boxes), some railways are busier than others that have reduced employees. A total of 24.6% reduction in personnel. For each railway, calculated as a percentage, the biggest loss is:
The figure below shows the unremitting efforts of various railway companies to lay off employees in the past four years:
Over the past two decades, railways have faced some structural challenges, including the decline of coal as the main fuel for power generation (coal has fallen from 55% in the 1980s to 23% today). Like other commodities (such as corn or petroleum products) and commodities such as motor vehicles and industrial equipment, coal also falls under the railway standard for “freight”. The reduction in coal is to a large extent the cause of the long-term decline in cargo capacity, which has increased from approximately 1.45 million monthly cargo capacity in 2005 and 2006 to the current 900,000 cargo capacity.
The intermodal business (transporting containers and trailers) has always been a growth area for railways. But this is precisely where the competition among truck drivers is fierce, and a large part of it is based on services such as speed, convenience and reliability. The deterioration of service quality has pushed container transportation to highways.
The chart shows the origin of monthly, 6-month moving average freight volume (red) and intermodal transportation (green) for all Category 1 railways:
In the long run, the total traffic volume plus all types of loads puts railway business in a highly volatile, periodic and extremely stagnant state. For railways, the good thing is that intermodal transportation is a more profitable business that can bring dollar revenue.
This chart of cargo capacity and multimodal transport, as a 6-month moving average, shows how difficult the business is. If costs are cut (if this inevitably leads to a decline in service quality), then rampant cost reductions will make More booming multimodal transport services hit the road. Since its peak in 2006, total circulation has fallen by 16%:
The railway has responded to long-term challenges by cutting costs. The most popular system for cost reduction is the Precision Dispatching Railway (PSR), under which the railway attempts to operate its freight and intermodal services more efficiently, such as more point-to-point routing. Others call it “dramatic” because it will ultimately reduce personnel and capital expenditures.
Some people are beginning to believe that PSR actually represents a positive shareholder response because it does exactly that. Now, in any case, everything can be attributed to raising the stock price, even if it pushes the business to the highway.
This is the WOLF STREET Railway Index, which is based on the billion-dollar United Pacific Corporation [UNP], Norfolk South [NSC], CSX [CSX], Canadian Nationals [CNI], Kansas City South [KSU] and Canadian Pacific [CP] ]. Union Pacific has a market capitalization of US$137 billion and currently accounts for 33.5% of the index. BNSF is owned by Berkshire Hathaway and is not included.
Despite the plunge in March, the index has risen 18.3% so far. Since bottoming in March, it has risen 80%. Compared with the peak level before the Great Depression in August 2008, this figure has almost tripled, and even the total cargo capacity and intermodal transport model have fallen by 17% from the 2006 peak. The resignation of a large number of employees had an amazing effect on the stock price (market value data obtained by YCharts):
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If you look at the chart of total load capacity and intermodal transport mode, you will swear that we have entered a recession in 2019.
How bad is PSR? In the 1930s, railways moved from sector-based dispatch to end-to-end dispatch. Department-based scheduling is about getting trains in and out of Barrywick as quickly as possible, even if it means overall transportation inefficiency. End-to-end scheduling is to transfer the load from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. Needless to say, end-to-end cost work, and the depression of the 1930s is no joke. Nevertheless, 1933 was a good year to buy railway stocks.
Interesting-this begs a question. If the intermodal railway goes down, and truck transportation goes up. Obviously, railway work is decreasing. Will more truck drivers be hired? What will Net Jobs’ situation look like-reducing railroad workers. More truck drivers? What picture is network work?
I think there is a reasonable argument that the employment crisis in the United States in the 21st century is not one of the reasons for excessive layoffs (does anyone really want to fight the long-term growth of productivity?) but one of the reasons for the failure of employee absorption in the pathology industry (Medicine, higher education, housing construction, etc.)
Although the inflation rate of these pathological industries is high and the number of people who widely use ordinary labor is limited, the inflation rate of these pathological industries (despite the increase in labor supply) is still very bad.
Government policy is part of this (failure will be rewarded for increased funding, ZIRP authorizes abusive pricing, etc.), but there are more.
The law may be an industry where you may want to consider pathology. When combined with the ensuing regulatory network, this will be a considerable part of the economy.
I like the concept of “pathological industry”…similar to “parasitic industry”, but it sounds better…Both are the causes of many problems, but like everything else, this is a problem of degree.
Just want to clarify, I do not necessarily agree with your comment, and actually did not give up understanding of it, but I chose a new word to use in my own business dictionary.
In the 1980s, all diesel-electric locomotives used to have three people. One is a “fireman” shoveling coal.
The railway union is one of the strongest unions in the United States. They can protect their railway work regardless of whether the technology is completely obsolete. After 40 years of negotiations, the firefighters on the diesel locomotive were removed.
I can also give a dozen other crazy union contract clauses, which retain the crazy working rules and work throughout the industry.
I don’t know how many layoffs recently were mainly related to the destruction of trade unions. I suspect that the same person working through temporary agencies and various non-union subcontractors will replace many union positions.
Thirty years ago, I was engaged in railway transportation in the locomotive industry for a short time, and I was paid through temporary workers. This makes it easier for me and the company. At that time, I was able to live well, without overtime pay, holiday pay, holiday pay, health insurance, pension plan, etc.
In the final analysis, their “precise plan” will become a farce due to the reduction in track maintenance leading to more derailments. But this is how American industry almost always works: root infrastructure underground and then give up to get more profitable investments elsewhere. When the government buys remnants like Amtrak, things get better.
When it comes to crazy work rules, you may want to remember that rail transportation has been extremely dangerous work for decades. Killing employees kind of poisoned the self-proclaimed “labor-management relationship.”
Very interesting. I was thinking about the same thing. union. We need more reasonable unions, but more unions. A lot of job losses are related to union bankruptcy, because teachers, nurses, and service industries can tell you. Two days ago, BNSF derailed, leaked and exploded in Washington State. Keep you asleep at night; EPA and other foods. The railway transportation of oil and fracturing fluid in railway vehicles approved by the agency does not necessarily meet recognized safety standards. I think this has been passed in the last two years. Unsafe cars, barebone security personnel, and barebone track maintenance have increased the use of unmaintained tracks. Remember many stories again. This was the subject of barebone inspection, maintenance, and security protocols in the 1980s and 1990s. This way of doing business is very common in the United States, because the regulator is an industrial fox guarding the chicken coop, because the elected officials get scammers from the industry, and the payment is cheap, only a negligible security fine/infringement lawsuit $ can be paid Union salaries/gratuities for railway workers across the country. Even if the lawsuit violates any legal provisions, fines, fines, and legal fees can be deducted and passed on to consumers!
2Banana: “I can give a dozen other crazy union contract terms, which retain the crazy working rules and work…” Remember, at least two people are required to agree to the contract. If one party is granted a concession, the other party can be regarded as an advantage.
Wolf is not on the topic at all, you have entered Marketwatch on the WTF chart of Tesla. A picture is worth a thousand words there.
When running Marketwatch on top of the Wolftreet media empire, remember our little men.
The Wolf Street Media Empire takes over! Wolfstreet will soon need its fact checker to ensure that the Empire information is heard correctly: P
Wolf Merry Xmas I must say that reading your article and all the comments from everyone else helps me stay sane in a crazy world. Give everyone a little peace. Thank you!
I hope so! It may be the only place where “comments” really help inspire and clarify. Lack of quarrels and “I am smart, you are stupid” argument is a treat. Thank you Wolfe and everyone else! Happy Dutch mayonnaise!
For employees, 2021 will be a terrible year. Under work pressure, half of my colleagues (and myself) felt scared and asked publicly whether they would be eliminated. RIF, COVID or other possible performance, but not the best candidate. We may have to use the new term “positive shareholder response” PSR
And, to be honest, every year since 2000 has not been particularly shocking for the American labor market… Therefore, some people have been defeated in twenty years.
The reduction in these numbers is huge. The secondary impact will last for several years. Lack of institutional knowledge and low morale may translate into poor service results for its customers. Maybe bring them into the arms of competitors. Long-distance truck fleet?
Over the past two decades, I have watched this situation with many technical customers. It is not a good way either.
Merry Christmas everyone and happy holidays. I will check out in the next few hours. When Santa Claus comes down from the chimney, I will hide behind the sofa and sneak up on Santa Claus.
Wolf, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays back to Ya. You have done a great job on, thank you very much. I just hope that PG&E will not maintain the chimney bricks, otherwise Santa will be in big trouble! If they do, he will bring you a bag of coal, but since there is no railway to your area, it must be shipped by For everyone, May 2021 will be a more cordial year!
And tell Santa that he might want to leave an unforgettable time for all of us this holiday. Maybe he can coordinate the past Christmas.
According to my calculations, the US$3 trillion provided by the Federal Reserve to the “super rich/Wall Street” is equivalent to US$10,000 per person in the United States.
Let’s take a look at the compensation of $600 per day and month since the start of the symbiotic crisis (about 9 months). Larry Summers has beaten the media, claiming that the economy may be overheated by the $600 payment. He may be Biden’s mouthpiece, but others may disagree.
Note that the only reason you might get $600 is because Bernie Sanders promoted it, not Biden, Pelosi (which contains a $25,000 ice cream refrigerator) The one) or the average Democrat.
My question to Summers’ comments is, do we have UBI data available from other countries? Are there economies that are experiencing “overheating”? After the global financial crisis, haven’t we failed to invest enough money in people through stimulus? Isn’t this one of the accepted opinions?
Most of the stimulus money went to banks for auto loans, mortgage or credit card payments, or the U.S. dollar went to China and Amazon/Walmart.
I usually drag the Teslionel electrified railway on the Christmas tree under the Christmas tree to carry the load of gold nuggets to simulate the coal in the Lehigh Valley funnel that has been used since 1948. Someone stole the tree and replaced it with a festive pole. Guess we can go on with the power feat. I wonder if Uncle Charles Samuel Atlas can bear the boring financial burden this year? Bet he pulls the groin again. Happy Harbin or any day you celebrate now. Or the celebrity? You must learn about fashion news.
In the early morning of July 6, 2013, an out-of-control train hauled 72 oil tankers full of crude oil in the center of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The oil tanker exploded and the oil caught fire, killing 47 people and destroying many buildings and other infrastructure in the city center.
A man ran away the entire train. Think of saving, efficiency! No caboose, no brakes. He stood up and took a bite and forgot to apply the brake.
It’s even worse than that. The train stopped on the main line overnight. One-fifth of the locomotives are in operation, air is supplied to the locomotive brakes, and few handbrakes are installed.
The train driver stayed at the motel at night. It sounds crazy, isn’t it, by the highway, in the unlocked cab, leaving a train of dangerous goods unattended, spit out the semi-boiled oil in the exhaust?
But the situation is getting worse. At night, poor maintenance caused an engine fire on the turbocharger. The small fire was extinguished, the engine was turned off, the handbrake was no longer set, and everyone went back to bed. But no one wants to tell the driver of the fire. h!
As the locomotive air leaked, the brakes were released and the train began to roll. All on your own.
The whole dirty plot is unforgivable, preventable crime, but hey! Greed is good, right?
With the help of modern technology, no driver is needed, and of course no truck is needed. We can execute people 5,000 miles away through remote-controlled drones. It is much easier to drive a train remotely on the track. The same is true for container ships. Please join us. Moving too many people, such as Zoom and similar robots, remote-controlled surgical robots, etc., transportation will relentlessly reduce the work to a lower level, mainly composed of maintenance personnel of various types and reels.
I want to see if the computer train itself will replace the damaged connector or brake hose. It’s worth seeing now!
Try to take a person into a busy port without a “pilot” (they are all busy), while the commander uses binoculars, two-way radios and a tug to control direction, speed and control. Good luck and sorry for the demolition.
I don’t think most people are aware of the incredible maintenance costs required to keep container ships running; the best ships are unattended, and 85% of their equipment is running on a good day. There are not many container ships with many American flags.
On Christmas Eve, I went to my local Irish pub in the downpour and flooded road and ordered 2 Turkish dinners for us. All restaurants here are closed for indoor dining, but you can sit outdoors on cold and rainy days if you wish. That is our county’s implementation of the proposal. Wolf’s beer glass was settled. In fact, for some reason, the beer in the thick bear’s cup tastes much better than the thin beer served in the bar, and you don’t have to worry about it tipping over.
It seems that Warren Buffet has done a good job in rail investment. There are not many employees in the railway department.
If your view of large companies is that they are a source of lifetime employment, then what you really want is government work.
Some industries are changing fast/slowly, but railways must adapt to social, regulatory and financial pressures to remain competitive. To some extent, they did not perform this basic duty (as GM did in 2009), they went bankrupt, and all employees were in danger (General Motors employment in the United States in 1979: 618,000; GM employment in the U.S. in 2019: 85,000).
Buffett (actually Berkshire’s management team) keeps BNSF healthy (including cutting redundant employees when necessary) and benefits customers, shareholders and current employees.
We ate lasagna and left a bunch with our old friends. This wine made me a clear night:-)Today, I will cook turkey and try to have a happy day with only two people and our relatives. The neighboring turkey and decorations! !
On the optimistic side, Covid is currently down 30% across the province, lingering about 5 new cases per million people on Vancouver Island. That way, Moderna injections will start in our more remote areas on Monday.
Railways, like any enterprise, have the responsibility to obtain a return on investment assets. This includes adjusting the revenue scale according to the business scale and trying to improve efficiency. This may seem cruel, but the alternative is the exhaustion of productive investment and the reduction of social living standards.
For a 1000-3000 mile journey, if you have time to transport it by rail, then most commodities have no competitive options in price. Barge transportation is the cheapest way, but the service area is very limited.
It’s not that your statement is incorrect, but…the continuous unemployment of the unemployed will lead to a decline in social living standards.
I do not agree that we need to have a safety net, but the improvement in living standards comes from the large income of each employee. For automobiles, the ability to deliver a car worth US$35,000 to consumers and obtain a mid-single-digit profit is equivalent to an income of US$700,000 per employee. If you work in a highly competitive industry, this is usually the pressure of labor.
So, how do we clean up environmental chaos? If we do this, will it meet the “productivity standard”? If not, then we do need to change the standard. National job security will generate full employment. Better than unemployment. Will this help increase productivity?
1) How to clean up the mess”: Example: Environmental health is the so-called “common interest” (for the benefit or benefit of everyone, and suitable for everyone to pay); it is entirely appropriate for regulations to require reasonable corrections to these chaotic situations (for example: Car pollution). Productivity is measured on the basis of including the manufacture of cars, which include concerns about public goods (unleaded gasoline, catalytic converters, etc.).
2) The previous federal “job training” program has proven that millions of people do not want “guaranteed jobs” under any circumstances. For example, some (but not all) would rather sell drugs or engage in other unethical occupations. As you may (or may not) imagine, adding this queue to “employed” will only reduce average productivity.
Will the Internet also have an impact on this industry? All freight companies can immediately know where there is a load and can more easily grasp it. Freight companies have flexibility that railways do not. Check out all the freight logistics companies that popped up to manage this growth.
The subway and railway are no exception. The Washington DC Metro decided to close the station and cease service on weekends (at the recommended level) after they increased their fares. Does closing the station mean that many service workers will lose their jobs? They cited the lack of passengers due to COVID. Now, the subway is in a downward spiral, here we set off again.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas (or happy holidays). I guess this year will be a tough year for everyone. Wolf, can you write down the timetable for this year, for example, what are the most important economic events in 2020?
Now I want to talk about the last-minute Brexit deal. There is no doubt that the inflation of the stock market and the Fed bailout in major markets and the preservation of corporate credit bubbles. The federal government failed to control the spread of the second wave of the virus (traveling by air) before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why doesn’t the government order airlines to step down? An economic rebound that opened too early to lock in could be a major event.
The railway workers are very swollen, which makes the Postal Union and the Auto Workers Union envy. The new oil pipeline also affects the level of railway freight. When the 2-mile-long train transports tanks full of fuel from N. Dakota every day, it always laughs at people in weird environments blocking pipeline construction.
In this challenging year, I thank Wolf and most critics of WS for their comfort and support. The experience and common sense gained from here are very helpful to many people here, instead of the theoretical nonsense that has kept me out of SM since the mid-80s, it now seems to be infiltrating RE mkt. However, the motto about us is: “Let us finish it and have more fun under 21!” Wish you all a Merry Christmas or Happy Holy Day.
Thank you Wolf for his hard work and let the rest of us work together. I want to thank you for the occasional humorous “correction” in your comments. It’s difficult to keep your comments correct and useful, but you post them day in and day out. I wish you all a happy holiday.
Shippers who use freight railways say they feel frustrated when they are served by one or several railway companies that charge them high non-competitive rates. “In the current test, the railway is able to unilaterally impose rates on customers without having to provide any reason for the new rates,” said Frank Chirumbole, a corporate executive at the American Chemistry Council.
In semi-related thinking, the dynamics between rural and urban recession next year will become the key issue as polarization has exacerbated economic dysfunction. The pre-civil war mentality and the impending government stalemate, as well as the la-footed President Duck, inherited huge global challenges. This will make… Merry Christmas?
Muro said: “The Republican Party “reflects the economic foundations of the struggling small towns and rural areas in the country, and remains frustrated and sees no reason to consider the priorities and needs of the country’s metropolitan center.” “This is not an economic achievement. Consensus or achievement plan. ”
We have become more polarized as a county, and as a result, the parties have become more ideologically unified, which makes it impossible to promote factional politics of the main challenger. Negative party relations have also increased the stakes and ruled out the possibility of centrist independent candidates running for split parties.
Not only work, but good jobs are quickly dying out. Railway is one of the few high-paying jobs in small towns and rural areas. Less medical care and retirement benefits will only be transferred to the government to do something.
It is hoped that highways and bridges will continue to be magically maintained and continue to increase their volume and weight, even if train tracks are cheaper for heavy transportation. One step forward, two steps back.
It is interesting how many miles of railroad have been suspended. Railways have been automated for many years. Are they faster than the trucking industry?
The trucking industry can and will detour until the auxiliary road becomes impassable. Then ask the public to pay for important infrastructure. After all, there are no trucks that are not shipped to Walmart.
Near me, the railway right of way is now ATV and snowmobile roads. Pedestrians are also welcome, if they dare…
Decades ago, when the service became unreliable and potatoes arrived late and could not be sold, local potato shippers withdrew from the railway.
When I did not live on the grid, we had two miles of two-lane paved road (with a large vineyard/winery at the end) as our main entrance from Hwy101. The entire valley it passes through is filled with vineyards. The rest is “all-weather” shale, about 20 miles in total, and we only paid for the maintenance of the parts used to go home. In any case, we have had a court battle with the company (some of which are clothing from the back east side) over road costs, and we all paid as part of the Association of Chartered Land Owners. Experts testified that the trip of a loaded trailer is equal to the trip of 1,000 vehicles…maybe 5 times or more, I hope I can remember.
In any case, some people who make money and the rest of us (in the case of lower wages and benefits, choose to guide) are the way the United States operates right now, right?
“On Saturday, the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI arrested and charged two persons connected with terrorist conspiracies. They destroyed the railroad tracks and caused the train to derail. According to the New York Times, the 27-year-old Ellen Brennan Reiche and 23-year-old Samantha Frances Brooks were accused of placing shunts on railroad tracks in Bellingham, Washington.
Like lawyers, there is always someone to blame the Federal Reserve or those evil limited liability companies who are free from the illusion of lifelong contractual slavery in the Middle Ages.
For every mile reached in quantum computing, cryptocurrency disappears. Vernor Vinge’s masterpiece “Deep Fire” is linear.
It sounds like a book, and it goes well with my research on cold (or hot) fusion energy and double lithium crystals.
The multi-generation truck driver family (not mine) pointed out the paradox: “You will spend all day in the cab, and then spend all night in the cab (refer to maintenance).” I have yet to meet a truck driver who has not performed [even small] maintenance on their rig.
They are lengthening the train and trying to reduce the stop time at the end. Loading is more complicated. They added tracks in the place. A railway transports trona. It is a little-known commodity. You cannot drag enough things in a pickup truck.
Merry Christmas wolf you are here to serve the prime minister. Thank you! I wish you all a Happy New Year.
1) US and EU exports to China have fallen a lot. Although the US dollar x 9 months plummeted, shipments to China are still falling. 2) You cannot get an empty container in China because they are stuck in Europe and the United States. 3) This is a one-way street. 4) In a normal year, Cass R/R peaks in the middle of the year and decays until December 5. Peleton in Long Beach has increased the number of people yelling at you at home by 22%. 6) The trade war with China has not failed. According to Cass 1R/R: Cargo capacity and total amount of inertia. 7) The peak occurred in 2006. Cass 1 dropped from 2,550,00 in 2006 to 1,920,000 in 2008. It rose to a lower level in 2014, and fell to 1,940,000 in 2020. 8) The waterfall chart may appear in the mid-2020s. 9) R/R cumulative market value reaches $137B thx to zero interest rate Fed and Cass 1 2020 bear market bull market. 10) Don’t fight with the Fed and tape. The Federal Reserve…
But don’t worry about airline shareholders and creditors; they will benefit from another $15 billion through “taxpayer capitalism.”
During the financial crisis, consumers deleveraged by getting rid of debt. Are there still 20 million people applying for unemployment insurance?
“As Manhattan sellers start to slash prices, this is more dramatic than any market can afford.”
Consumers’ income in November is still higher than in “Good Times,” but much less than when the free “pandemic” funds were significantly reduced.

Post time: Dec-31-2020