Boeing Begins Shedding Jobs

Michael Mecham mecham@aviationweek.com

Boeing has reduced its job count by nearly 4,000 positions across most of its employment units since the first of the year, achieving nearly 40% of the total it expects to shed in 2009.

The company's total employment as of April 30 was 159,161, compared with 161,965 in April 2008 and 162,191 on Dec. 31 - a drop of 3,030s. But a Boeing official said another 1,000 vacancies have gone unfilled since the company began pruning its job list in January. Boeing's total employment edged up across all sectors last summer and then began receding in November and December.

The number of jobs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) was 65,972 as of April 30, down 1,687 from the Dec. 31 figure, but off only 242 from April 2008.

Employment has actually edged up within the company's other major production unit, Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). It stood at 70,023 as of April 30, rising 106 positions from the end of 2008. But it is down 1.020 from the previous April and 1,437 from last year's high point in June.

Responding to increasingly strong evidence of a weakened global airline market, Boeing said in January it would shed 4,500 jobs in 2009 at BCA.

A month later, it projected a second round of 5,500 job cuts elsewhere in the company. In April, when BCA said it will reduce 777 deliveries beginning in June 2010, the company acknowledged that further jobs cuts are likely in BCA, adding that it is is too early to say how many.

As of April 31, Engineering, Operations and Technology, the third largest employment group, had shed 699 jobs since Dec. 31. It now has 11,729 workers. Employment at Finance & Shared Services dropped 711 in the same period and now stands at 9,226.

Human resources, administration and corporate headquarters accounts, which totaled 2,211 as of April 30, have all declined slightly since Jan. 1.

737-900ER image credit: Boeing

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