Airlines Report Fewer Workers in October

U.S. airlines employed about 10,000 fewer workers overall in October compared with the same month last year, with large carriers reporting fewer full-time equivalent employees while low-cost airlines added workers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

U.S. airlines employed 403,000 workers in October compared with 413,000 last year, according to the government tally released Tuesday.

Among large network carriers, American Airlines had the most workers with 73,000, but that compared with last year's 75,000. Rounding out the top three, United Airlines dipped to 52,000 from 54,000, while Delta dropped to 44,000 from 50,000.

On the flip side, Continental Airlines Inc. added about 2,000 workers to bring its total to 35,000, and Alaska Airlines remained steady at about 9,000 employees.

The low-cost carriers with the most employees -- Southwest Airlines Co., America West Airlines (part of US Airways), JetBlue Airways Corp., AirTran Airways and Frontier Airlines -- all added workers in October compared with the year-ago period. Southwest had the most with 32,000 compared with 31,000 last year, and America West was second with a steady 12,000 employees.

Shares of Southwest slid 2 cents to $15.80 in afternoon trading, while American parent AMR Corp. rose 24 cents to $31.82, both on the New York Stock Exchange.

Continental increased 11 cents to $43.61, AirTran Holdings Inc. lost 35 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $12.31, US Airways Group Inc. jumped $1.32 to $57.13, and Alaska Air Group Inc. dipped 49 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $39.67, all also on the NYSE.

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. rose 62 cents to $45.33, while JetBlue sank 3 cents to $13.78, and Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc. rose 5 cents to $7.38, all on the Nasdaq.

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