US airlines have lost 54K jobs in last two years

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NEW YORK — U.S. airlines have cut jobs for two straight years, the government said Wednesday, as accelerating layoffs and outsourcing sped up a downward slide that started in 2001.

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NEW YORK — U.S. airlines have cut jobs for two straight years, the government said Wednesday, as accelerating layoffs and outsourcing sped up a downward slide that started in 2001.

The industry has now lost one of every four U.S. employees it had a decade ago.

Job losses at U.S. airlines have picked up since 2008 because the recession forced carriers to cut thousands of jobs here and ship more overseas. The industry has lost 54,000 jobs, or 16 percent, in the last two years.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics said the level of U.S. airline employment in June was the second-lowest in 20 years. In that same time period, annual passenger traffic has jumped about 65 percent.

The airlines haven’t resumed hiring even though more people are flying and most carriers are posting profits for the first time since 2007. Diminishing staff and fuller flights are adding to the stress among flight attendants, pilots and other workers.

For passengers, there are fewer flights to choose from, so planes are fuller. Faced first with higher fuel costs and then a slump in travel demand between 2007 and 2009, airlines dropped routes that weren’t profitable.

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