In my last blog entry I talked about the challenges that we all face in 2009. Now comes word that the U.S. is in the middle of the worst loss of jobs in more than 60 years - and as companies large and small are having to adjust to our worsening economy, Boeing is not immune.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, we’re taking the tough step of reducing Boeing Commercial Airplanes employment by about 4,500 positions in 2009. This will bring BCA employment to around 63,500 jobs – which is about where we were at the beginning of last year. Most of the job reductions will be right here in the Seattle area and in Washington state, and will take place during the second quarter.
You don’t need any more proof than this that we’re challenged right now with a very difficult business climate. As our Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson put it, we’re doing this in order to make sure we remain well positioned and are able to control costs under the current economic conditions.
777 final assembly under way in Everett last month.
I started at Boeing in 1981 – just before what turned out to be one of the biggest downturns we’ve seen in this industry. I’ll never forget going through the process of watching many friends and colleagues - some who’d just started working at Boeing, and many with whom I’d developed strong relationships in the work environment – having to change jobs or go on to other things outside the company. It makes a strong impression on you.
The job reductions will mainly be in areas not associated with airplane production. But that doesn’t make it any less painful. I’ve gone through a number of these cycles in our business, and it’s difficult for everyone associated with Boeing.
We’ve tried as best we can to maintain as stable an employment environment as possible. Ultimately, our success as a business is the best recipe for continued and stable employment. But there are things that we just can’t control, and one of those is the difficult time we find ourselves in during the global economic slowdown.
As we continue, the same fundamentals remain. We need to deliver on our airplanes backlog. We have to continue to be more productive. And we need to continue to make progress on our development programs.
The job reduction is a step we have to make in order to meet those goals, remain competitive, and adapt to the uncertainties in the marketplace. We’re facing fierce competition. As Scott Carson pointed out to employees, we’re not in this industry alone. Our competition is not standing still, and neither can we.