National

Jul 20, 2010 11:57 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Airlines work force shrinks by 2.7 percent in May

The government says that airlines' work forces shrank by 2.7 percent in May from a year earlier.

It marks the 23rd straight month in which airline employment has declined.

U.S. airlines have laid off thousands of workers in the last year as the economy sputtered. They're also shifting more jobs, especially maintenance positions, outside of the U.S. where labor is cheaper.

Airlines are hesitant to start hiring despite a better economy, choosing instead to build up cash reserves.

The Transportation Department said Tuesday scheduled passenger airlines employed 377,000 workers in May, 10,500 less than a year earlier.

The May figures are the latest available.

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