BNSF Railway is adding employees in Spokane and North Idaho as its shipments grow across the West and its workforce retires.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad hired about 100 people in the Spokane-North Idaho market this year, and the company expects to hire about 50 more in 2015, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said.
Across the region, the company added about 600 jobs in Washington and the Idaho Panhandle this year, including 100 in Pasco.
The hiring includes everything from conductor trainees to technical positions, such as signal personnel, track maintenance workers and operations engineers, Melonas said. Jobs.bnsf.com advertises annual wages of about $50,000 for skilled labor jobs and $68,000 for conductors.
Some of the hiring is tied to 17 miles of new track between Spokane and Pasco, which was built to alleviate congestion on the line, Melonas said. Other hires are related to increased business.
In 2006, BNSF set a record for freight shipments. The recession temporarily halted the growth in shipments, but the railroad expects to surpass the 2006 record within several years, Melonas said.
Spokane had 757 direct railroad jobs in 2012, the latest year that federal figures are available, said Ajsa Suljic, a regional economist for the Washington Employment Security Department. That figure includes employees of all rail companies. Washington had 5,222 direct railroad jobs that year.
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