Boeing’s Washington workforce increased by 519 employees in October, according to new figures from the aerospace company.
That’s about what’s become a normal pace of hiring this year as Boeing pushes up production at all of its commercial airplane assembly plants and as the company continues design work of its new 737 Max and its larger 787 Dreamliner models.
In the first 10 months of this year, Boeing has added 5,045 workers to its Evergreen State payrolls.
Boeing is also moving forward with design work on its new airborne tanker for the Air Force built on the 767 airframe and on production and design of its P-8 submarine hunter and maritime surveillance aircraft. Boeing also may soon begin serious design work on an upgraded version of its 777. All of these projects are likely to increase employment.
The company has said its employment may flatten out or decline once modification work on its first batch of 787 Dreamliners is done. Those planes left the factory with upgrades that needed to be done in post-assembly. Boeing has delivered about 35 Dreamliners, but produced about 85. The difference is the number that are requiring extra work.
Once that extra work is done, Boeing has said it will trim the growth of its workforce. But considering the task before the company, doubling the production rate of the 787 and increasing the assembly rate of the 737 to its highest in history, shaving the growth in its workforce may be wishful thinking.
Boeing’s employment now in Washington is the highest it has been since 1999.