Boeing employment in Washington on the rise

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The Boeing Co.’s employment level in Washington state increased by 875 positions in May, according to a recently updated company report.

Boeing employed 83,873 workers in the state at the end of May. The company has added employees as it has increased jet production in Everett and Renton.

Over the first five months of 2012, Boeing’s Washington workforce has grown by 1,895 people. The addition of 875 workers in May is the highest monthly increase so far. The company added 226 people in April.

The company is slowing the rate at which it is adding workers in the state. In 2011, Boeing added 8,361 workers over the year. It’s unlikely to match that in 2012.

Company officials have said that employment will top out this year. But Boeing still will need to hire thousands of engineers and machinists to keep up with anticipated retirements. The company estimates that 40 to 50 percent of its workforce will be eligible to retire in less than a decade.

As of May 31, Boeing employed 173,167 people worldwide.