The Boeing Co. has bolstered its Washington workforce by 1,337 workers in the first three months of the year as the company moves to increase its production of its 737 and 777 jetliners and to install modifications to yet-undelivered 787 Dreamliners.
That workforce is likely to continue to expand in the coming months as Boeing begins work on the Air Force KC-46A tanker at Everett and ups the production rate on all of its airliners, Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney said Wednesday.
The company’s Commercial Airplane Group grew by 2,782 workers in that same period. Most of those workers are in Washington.
While Boeing’s payroll is expanding, the company’s Washington payroll will likely never reach the record it set in June of 1998 when it counted 104,000 people on its payroll in the Evergreen State.
The company that year had 238,400 employees companywide. That compares with 163,783 as of March 31, 2011.
Since that peak, Boeing has spun off major operations and sold them to other companies and implemented lean manufacturing techniques within its own factories to keep employment levels from jumping too fast. The company has also out-sourced major work on its 787 Dreamliner subassemblies, a move that in part has been responsible for frequent delays in that airliner’s commercial debut.
The first Dreamliner is due for delivery in the third quarter, more than three years late.