EVERETT - Thousands of Boeing employees have already been laid off due to decreased demand for airliners in the commercial sector and the possibility of moving the 787 production line to South Carolina could cost thousands more. A final decision has yet to be announced.
A number of Boeing Employees told Q13 News the company needs to cut expenses but moving the Dreamliner’s production not only costs local jobs but also quality craftmanship.
“I think the employees at Boeing need to be heard,” said one man who asked to remain unidentified.
It’s been a tough year for the company and even though the company says a final decision has yet to be made, employees say chatter on the factory floor suggests Puget Sound will pay the price again.
“I’m hearing it’s already a done deal, they’re going to build it in South Carolina because they can’t build the 787-10 in Everett,” said the employee.
Boeing is the beating heart of the North Sound’s economy and Washington’s largest employer.
Plus, local governments are struggling with large revenue deficits.
Exactly how many jobs are at risk has yet to be publicly revealed, but county officials believe it’s not a small number.
“If the line is consolidated elsewhere that could mean 10-thousand plus jobs easily,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers who adds many more jobs amidst other aircraft still have a home in the North Sound.
Yet as thousands have already been laid off, economists say homeowners may not be the ones facing the worst hardships of a shrinking job force.
“When we look at far as housing goes, we’ll see a significant compression on rents in the apartment world and far fewer consequences in the ownership market,” said economist Matthew Gardner.
“You’ve got to have people that know how to build airplanes and have done it in the past in order to build them with quality,” said the employee.
Boeing says the findings of a study reviewing the long term health of the company’s production system will determine where the next 787’s will be built, but if quality is the focus, some employees insist Everett is the clear winner.
“The 787 has to be built here or we’re going to have more problems in the future,” said the employee.
The last time our region experienced economic hardship anywhere close to what we see now was nearly 50 years ago.
Gardner believes this time the impact won’t be as sharp because the economy is more diversified thanks to tech and other industries.