Airline industry continues to hire for now

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The U.S. airline industry has been on a hiring trend lately, but don’t expect that to continue too much longer.

For the ninth straight month, the airline industry has added full-time employees, with employment numbers for August up 2.8% over the same month last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.


In August, commercial passenger airlines employed 388,523 full-time workers in the U.S., up 10,688 workers from August 2010, according to the bureau.

But the long-term trends show the industry has yet to reached the pre-recession peak of nearly 420,000 workers in early 2008. And in the last few weeks, airline executives have promised to cut back on flights and available seats in response to higher fuel prices and decreasing demand.

The biggest growth in the last few months has been among low-cost airlines, such as Virgin America, Spirit and JetBlue, which combined have increased employment by nearly 6% over last year.

Continental Airlines reported 9.2% more full-time employees in August 2011 than in August 2010, the largest increase among the large, network carriers, according to the bureau. California-based Virgin America hired 21.2% more full-time workers, the largest increase among low-cost airlines.


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--Hugo Martin