U.S. airline industry (passenger and cargo airlines combined) employment increased to 814,190 workers in November 2023, 1,809 (0.22%) more workers than in October 2023 (812,381) and 66,047 (8.83%) more than in pre-pandemic November 2019 (748,143). 

U.S. scheduled-service passenger airlines employed 535,914 workers in November 2023 or 66% of the industry-wide total. Passenger airlines added 529 employees in November 2023 for a thirty-first consecutive month of job growth dating back to May 2021. United Air Lines led scheduled passenger carriers, adding 429 employees; Southwest added 309, and Envoy Air added 114.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 273,573 workers in November 2023, 34% of the industry total. Cargo carriers gained 1,333 employees in November. FedEx, the leading air cargo employer, increased employment by 1,600 jobs.

U.S. Airline Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)

BTS calculates FTEs by dividing the number of part-time employees by 2 and adding that figure to the number of full-time employees. The November 2023 industry-wide numbers include 699,167 full-time and 115,023 part-time workers for a total of 756,679 FTEs, an increase from October of 1,129 FTEs (0.15%). November 2023’s total number of FTEs remains just 9.81% above pre-pandemic November 2019’s 689,087 FTEs.

The 26 U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reporting data for November 2023 employed 509,135 FTEs, 497 FTEs (0.10%) more than in October 2023. November 2023’s total number of scheduled passenger airline FTEs is 56,706 FTEs (12.53%) above pre-pandemic November 2019. Data by passenger carrier category can be found in the accompanying tables.

U.S. cargo airlines employed 242,954 FTEs in November 2023, up 683 FTEs (0.28%) from October 2023. U.S. cargo airlines have increased FTEs by 10,567 (4.55%) since pre-pandemic November 2019.

 Reporting Notes

Data are compiled from monthly reports filed with BTS by commercial air carriers as of January 8, 2024. Additional airline employment data and previous releases can be found on the BTS website. The month-to-month numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

Passenger, cargo, and charter airlines that operate at least one aircraft that has more than 60 seats or the capacity to carry a payload of passengers, cargo, and fuel weighing more than 18,000 pounds must report monthly employment statistics. Regulations require U.S. airlines to report employment numbers for employees who worked or received pay for any part of the pay period(s) ending nearest the 15th day of the month.

See the tables that accompany this release on the BTS website for detailed data (Tables 1-15) and industry summary monthly data since 1990. Additional individual airline numbers are available on the BTS airline employment web page. The web page provides full-time and part-time employment numbers by carrier by month from 1990 through November 2023.

The next update for U.S. airline employment is scheduled for Monday, February 12, 2024.  

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