Boeing to Shed 4,500 Jobs

Many of the job cuts will be in overhead functions

Boeing said on Jan. 9 it would cut about 4,500 jobs beginning next month amid a weakening global economy. "We are taking prudent actions to make sure Boeing remains well-positioned in today's difficult economic environment," said Scott Carson, chief executive of Boeing's Seattle-based Commercial Airplanes business unit.

Employment at Commercial Airplanes was "expected to decline by approximately 4,500 positions in 2009 as part of an effort to ensure competitiveness and control costs in the face of a weakening global economy," the company said.

The job cuts will bring the unit's workforce to about 63,500, similar to the level it was at the start of 2008, the company said. Many of the job cuts will be in overhead functions and other areas not directly associated with airplane production. Most of the reductions are expected to occur in Washington state in the second quarter of the year, with affected employees to receive 60-day notices beginning in late February, Boeing said. Laid-off employees wll receive benefits and "career-transition" services, Boeing said.

"We regret the disruption to those affected by this decision," Carson said, adding that the move would enable it to adapt to market uncertainties, meet customer commitments, continue investments and protect competitiveness.

Boeing also said the Commercial Airplanes unit had begun a program to reduce overhead costs and discretionary spending.

"Although normal attrition and a reduction in contract labor will account for some of the job reductions, layoffs of Boeing employees also are necessary," the statement said.

Commercial Airplanes began 2008 employing more than 63,000 people, including contract labor, and increased employment to nearly 68,000 by year-end.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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