The golden age of the railroad may be long over in America’s history, but that doesn’t mean that the railroad does not perform a very important function in modern society. It is very valuable, if not in moving people across the country, in moving goods and materials. An incredible amount of freight crosses the lines in California every day.
That said, it’s important to note that employment is still on the decline. According to one report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook from 2016 to 2026 shows a projected 3% decline. If it continues at that rate from decade to decade, the workforce will shrink dramatically. The numeric change in jobs over that same time is a loss of about 3,000 jobs.
Other important facts about these jobs from the BLS report include:
- Workers tend to need a high school diploma or the equivalent — they have to pass the GED — to get a job.
- The median pay is around $61,480 annually. That works out to about $29.56 per hour. All told, for those with merely a high school diploma, it is a fairly well-paying job.
- In 2016, there was a total of about 105,500 jobs. That is before the projected loss of 3% of those jobs or about 3,000 positions.
- Workers do see a fair amount of on-the-job training since this is an industry where a lot of special skills — things you don’t learn in high school — are needed.
Does the decline in jobs mean it may be time for you to retire? If so, make sure you know what rights you may have to railroad employee retirement benefits.