New figures from Boeing show the company has kept hiring workers at a rapid pace in Washington as it dials up production on all of its commercial aircraft assembly lines and continues design work on its 737 Max, 777X and 787-9 airliners, and its KC-46 tanker aircraft.
Employment numbers from the company show that as of August 30, Boeing’s payroll was 86,157 in Washington, the highest it’s been since June 1999 when the company employed 86,600 workers here.
Washington is by far the state with the most Boeing workers and the state showing the greatest gain in payroll for the company.
Overall, Boeing’s total payroll for all locations rose 3,341 workers between late January this year and the end of August. The company’s total payroll on Aug. 30 was 175,033.
Some states, notably Kansas, California and Texas saw Boeing employment declines since late January.
While Boeing’s Washington payroll here is now the highest it’s been in 13 years, those payroll numbers fall considerably shy of the 104,000 workers Boeing employed in the Evergreen State in June of 1998.
Boeing’s worker rolls fell gradually after that date until 2002 when they began a steep dive in reaction to airline order cancellations in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Those payroll numbers bottomed out at 55,011 in September 2003 before turning upward gradually. The growth halted and payrolls shrunk in 2009 as the recession hit, but resumed their climb in 2010.
Boeing has said its Washington employment numbers may moderate or fall somewhat once the company completes a backlog of modification work to dozens of 787 Dreamliners it has produced in the last two years.
Those Dreamliners require modifications to bring them up to certification standards. Boeing assembled 787s while the planes were still being tested. Those tests resulted in several modifications to the aircraft for them to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards.
Boeing has rented a commercial overhaul company’s hangar at Paine Field in Everett to use as a site for the post-assembly line changes.