Northrop will lay off about 1,400 workers at its B-2 bomber plant in Pico Rivera, starting this month and continuing through September, the Los Angeles aerospace firm said Monday.
Northrop also said it will transfer production of the center fuselage section of the B-2 bomber from Pico Rivera to its facility in Palmdale to cut costs. Northrop is preparing a consolidation plan, in which it may close some facilities in Hawthorne, sources say.
The layoffs are part of a 3,000-worker cutback this year that was announced in May, Northrop spokesman Tony Cantafio said. Last month, Northrop notified workers at its aircraft division in Hawthorne that 1,350 jobs would be cut this year through retirements, voluntary leaves, contract labor terminations and layoffs.
When Northrop announced its plan to cut 3,000 jobs this year, it had 41,000 workers, about 75% of whom were in Southern California.
Virtually every major defense contractor in Southern California is trimming its work force, making for one of the most bleak industry outlooks since the early 1970s. McDonnell Douglas is cutting nearly 10,000 workers this year, and Lockheed may eliminate as many as 7,000.
Northrop’s layoffs are being driven by a Pentagon decision to trim B-2 orders, by an internal effort to cut costs and by a change in the skills needed for B-2 production as the program matures.
The 1,400 jobs to be eliminated at Pico Rivera plant will be partly offset by hiring of hourly production workers in Palmdale, Cantafio said. The Palmdale plant employs 2,200 and will grow to 3,000 by year-end.