BNSF Executive: About 4,600 Employees Furloughed Nationwide

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The chairman of BNSF Railway says about 4,600 railroad employees are furloughed nationwide due to declining oil prices and a reduced demand for coal. Matthew Rose spoke earlier this week during the Montana Energy conference in Billings.

He said the furloughs amount to about 10 percent of the railroad's workforce, about the same level of furloughs it had in 2007 and 2008 - the beginning of the Great Recession. Rose says the overall railroad industry's volumes were down 3 percent in 2015 and BNSF is bracing for a few tough years. He said the Fort Worth, Texas-based company has stopped hiring and is offering buyouts to older employees.