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Boeing to add 2,000 jobs in South Carolina, invest $1 billion

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Boeing says it will invest more than $1 billion in South Carolina over the next eight years and create 2,000 new jobs there as part of an agreement to qualify for economic development incentives the state is offering.

South Carolina lawmakers are proposing $120 million in incentives to help fund Boeing's expansion.

"The South Carolina business environment is one of the things that attracted us here originally," Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said in a statement.

Eslinger said that it's too early to say exactly what the 2,000 new jobs will be, though she said Boeing is creating an information technology "center of excellence" there as well as an operations center for the company's Dreamlifter airplanes that are used to ferry Dreamliner parts to the final assembly plant.

She said that since 2009, the company has invested more than $1 billion in land, facilities, infrastructure and tooling in South Carolina. Boeing now builds 787 Dreamliners at a production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, as well as in Everett in the Seattle area.

Controversial expansion

Boeing's expansion into South Carolina has been controversial. The state has a right-to-work law, making it unlikely that workers there will unionize.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers complained that the move to South Carolina was a retaliation for their strike in 2008. The National Labor Relations Board later sued the company on the same grounds. It dropped the lawsuit after Boeing reached a contract agreement with the union and pledged to build the 737MAX in Renton.

Boeing recently announced that it will lay off 800 machinists in the Puget Sound region as part of a plan to reduce its local workforce by 2,000 to 2,300 jobs. As of the end of February, Boeing employed more than 86,000 people in Washington state and 6,700 in South Carolina.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.