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Boeing Will Cut 777 Production Rate, Says It Will Have 'Some Impact On Employment’

Ashley Gross
Boeing's 777 production line in Everett

Boeing says it plans to reduce the production rate of its 777 wide-body jet, one of the company’s biggest sources of cash, to seven per month next year from the current rate of 8.3 per month.

“As a result of the rate change, we expect some impact on employment and will do our best to mitigate that by placing employees in other jobs across Boeing,” Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said in an emailed statement. “We are still studying how many roles may be impacted.”

The rate reduction was widely expected because demand for the current model of the 777 hasn’t been strong enough to keep up the same rate as Boeing transitions to building the next version, the 777X. The 777 is built in Everett. Alder declined to say how many employees work on the 777 program.

News of the 777 rate cut comes just a week after Boeing said it will halve its 747 production rate in September, down to 0.5 per month. That's because of lackluster demand for cargo jets. The 747 is also built in Everett. 

The employment outlook at Boeing’s Renton facility, on the other hand, remains strong. Boeing executives said on an earnings conference call that they plan to lift production of the 737 single-aisle jet to 57 per month in 2019. Right now, the company builds 42 per month, with two more planned rate hikes between now and 2019.

“Generally speaking, increased rates require some level of increased employment,” Alder said in the statement. “The planned rates and market demand mean that we see consistent levels of work for Boeing employees building the 737 in Renton for the foreseeable future.”

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.