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U.S. aerospace and defense businesses to cut about 30,000 jobs this year

WICHITA – U.S. aerospace and defense companies are expected to cut about 30,000 jobs this year — or about 4.5 percent of the work force, Reuter’s said, referring to a study by Aviation Week and some industry associations.

Layoffs are to continue in 2010, the study said. But total job losses during the downturn my be limited to 10 percent of the aerospace and defense work force, it said. That’s far below the 40 percent that were eliminated in the 1990 – 1996 time period at the end of the Cold War.

If that’s the case, Wichita’s cuts will make up a big number of those job losses. Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier Learjet and Boeing Wichita have announced about 13,000 job cuts since November. That doesn’t count the scores of suppliers and subcontractors who supply the aviation industry and have trimmed jobs in the downturn.

Aviation Week produced the report with input from the Aerospace Industries Association, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the National Defense Industrial Association and Hitachi Consulting.

The report showed that despite the cuts, companies were still hiring. There were 21,000 job openings as of April 1, when the data was completed, down from 32,000 a year ago.