Employment in US Airlines Dips to Lowest Level

Issue: 1 / 2021

As per data from the US government, scheduled airlines cut around 37,000 jobs in the one-month period ending mid-October 2020, bringing the sector’s employment to the lowest level in at least 30 years. Those cuts followed the expiration in at the end of September of US government aid that had specifically funded payrolls of US airlines. In mid-October, 22 US carriers employed 3,68,162 full-time staff, down nine per cent from 4,04,869 in the middle of September, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) said on December 11, 2020.

Airlines have not employed so few people in any month since the DOT started reporting the figure in January 1990. The sector’s mid-October employment figure was down 19 per cent - or about 86,000 jobs – from the 4,54,070 full-time workers employed by airlines one year earlier. The majority of the September-October cuts came from four US network carriers, which employ the most of the group and which collectively slashed 32,000 jobs in the period. Low-cost carriers eliminated only about 1,400 jobs in the one-month period, while US regional airlines cut 3,100 jobs, DOT data shows. As per the government’s Pandemic-relief law passed in March 2020, $29 billion was available for airlines to pay staff salaries and benefits. That aid expired on September 30, 2020.