Boeing will see a major drop in employment at its Commercial Airplanes business in 2009 as it struggles to control costs and remain competitive in the face of a weakening global economy.

Boeing expects to see a decline in approximately 4,500 positions this year, bringing its employment level to approximately 63,500, similar to levels seen at the start of 2008.

President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Scott Carson said that the action was prudent in order for the company to operate effectively during the economic slowdown.

“We believe that acting now will allow us to be in a financial position to adapt to market uncertainties, meet our customer commitments, continue investing in our current and future product lines, and protect our competitiveness in a fiercely competitive business environment, said Scott.”

Commercial Airplanes has announced that normal attrition and a reduction in contract labour will account for some of the job reductions; however, layoffs of Boeing employees will also be necessary.

Many of the job reductions will be in overhead functions and other areas not directly associated with airplane production with most of the reductions expected to occur in the Washington state area.

By Daniel Garrun.