BILLINGS, Mont. — 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.

The Billings Gazette reports ( ) Matthew Rose spoke Wednesday during the Montana Energy conference in Billings.

He says 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 railway’s volumes were down 3 percent in 2015 and the company is bracing for a few tough years.

He says the Fort Worth, Texas-based company has stopped hiring and is offering buyouts to older employees.

Information from: The Billings Gazette,

VIAThe Associated Press
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