PITTSBURGH — Airplane manufacturer Boeing Co. on Friday said it plans to cut about 3% of its workforce as a weakening global economy lowers demand for jetliners.
The Chicago-based company said it expected to cut about 4,500 positions from its passenger jet business, which has factories in the Seattle area.
Many of the cuts will be in areas not directly associated with aircraft production.
The news comes a day after Boeing reported a 15% decline in passenger jet deliveries for 2008, when it faced an eight-week strike by union workers and shrinking airline demand.
The lower deliveries ensured Boeing's archrival, Europe's Airbus, retained its rank as the world's top plane maker.
Orders for Boeing planes, meanwhile, plunged by more than half last year after three straight years of exceptionally strong bookings.
Carriers have been scaling back spending since the summer to cope with fewer air travelers.
Most of the job cuts announced Friday are expected to occur in Washington state between April and June.
"This is likely just the start of it, not just at Boeing but throughout the industry," said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation industry analyst with the Virginia-based Teal Group.
"We're heading into a down cycle," he added.