Boeing Co. is moving 265 less aircraft maintenance jobs than anticipated from operations in Long Beach, Calif., but is proceeding with a plan to move up to 900 engineering jobs from a plant closing in Wichita.
The latest job numbers are reflected in job incentives proposals totaling $6.3 million set to be presented Tuesday to the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust. The incentives are to be paid from a $75 million general-obligation limited tax bond issue approved by voters in 2007.
“The California transition of jobs is complete this month,” Boeing spokeswoman Jennifer Hogan said Friday. “Some of the employees from Wichita have transferred and some new hires have come on board. The number is small right now.”
Boeing was first approved for an allocation of $1.496 million in 2011 based on 232 jobs associated with the C-130 program moving from Long Beach. A second phase allocation was expected for an estimated 318 jobs attached to the company's B-1 program, which also was based in Long Beach.
Total of jobs changes
Brent Bryant, the city's economic development coordinator, said Boeing approached the city in December asking that the C-130 allocation be combined with some B-1 jobs, with the total being changed from 550 to 285, and be retitled as “Boeing Project No. 1”
Boeing's capital investment costs for expanding operations in Oklahoma City, initially estimated at $2.8 million, increased to $5.1 million. Based on average salaries, capital investment and net new job creation, the recommended allocation for “Boeing Project No. 1” is set at $1.8 million.
If approved, Bryant expects “Boeing Project No. 1” payments from the performance-based incentive package to begin later this year.
Another $4.5 million incentive package is being proposed for between 800 and 900 engineering jobs being moved from Wichita. Bryant estimated those payments, if approved, won't begin for another couple years due to an extended ramp up of those operations.
“We are on plan and the bulk of jobs will be placed this year for the Wichita portion,” Hogan said. “So you will see more activity on that in the coming months. Our current head count is about 1,300. We have grown 500 jobs since our initial announcement in 2010. Our plan is be at approximately 2,000 by end of 2013.”
Boeing's expansion in Oklahoma City has coincided with its effort to consolidate operations, cut costs and respond to possible defense department budget reductions.
With average salaries topping $84,000, the jobs remain a big win for Oklahoma City, said Kurt Foreman, executive vice president of economic development at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
“Boeing is a long-term company we want to have in our market,” Foreman said. “And the jobs they create are the type communities want to have.”
Foreman said he also still anticipates other vendors that work with Boeing will expand their presence in Oklahoma City — but at a slower rate due to uncertainty with federal budget negotiations.
“With the potential threats to people doing business, they don't want to run ahead of things,” Foreman said. “We're seeing people interested in the market, but jogging instead of running.”