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Boeing stays true to its plan, lays off Everett workers

The Boeing Co. said it plans to trim its workforce this year by a similar amount as last year. Now it looks like those plans are coming true.

Related: Boeing senior VP nominated for role at Pentagon

At least 170 Boeing workers in the Puget Sound area received layoff notices on March 17. The bulk of them went to machinists, with more than 60 going to engineering workers, the Daily Herald reports.

It’s not clear how many went to non-union workers.

The company also offered buyouts to several white-collar workers, including several in Washington and Oregon.

Reducing labor costs will also include leaving open positions vacant, the Herald reports.

The cuts come as the company tries to stay competitive by cutting costs.

In February, aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia told KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan that the economic drivers that were pushing the industry over the last decade are disappearing. There isn’t a large market for what Boeing is offering — at least when it comes to the twin-engine market.

“Some of the real catalysts we’ve enjoyed for growth are going away,” he said. “But I really don’t see any downward pressure. The number one thing to remember is the spine of this thing is people flying and traffic growth numbers are still quite positive.”

Aboulafia said Boeing will have to rely on its smaller, more popular planes like the 737 for the next few years.

Late in 2016, Boeing announced it was lowering production and staffing levels in Everett in response to lower-than-expected demand for its 777 jets. The news was announced shortly before the company announced it was halting its staggered work schedule for Everett employees.

If the cuts this year are similar to last year’s, employees can expect a reduction in its workforce by about 8.5 percent. Exactly how many of those cuts will be from pink slips will be determined by the number of people who leave through voluntary attrition.

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