Everything revolved around the 787 in Snohomish County’s economy

EVERETT — In 2009, Snohomish County’s aerospace industry seemed to revolve around the Boeing Co.’s 787.

“The 787 was the macro story” of the year for Snohomish County, said Scott Hamilton, an analyst with Issaquah-based Leeham Co.

Like the character in a novel, the 787 has become intertwined with so many lives in the county, so many of 2009’s top stories here. Perhaps the most pervasive plot line for the 787 in 2009 was one of delays. The delays of Boeing’s 787, in essence, created or contributed to many of the other major aerospace stories affecting Snohomish County in 2009.

The 787’s delays meant that its supply chain, partially based in Snohomish County, didn’t get paid for work done on the mostly composite Dreamliner. As a result, suppliers didn’t increase their employment in the county, Hamilton noted. In fact, Snohomish County lost about 1,000 jobs in aerospace in 2009.

South Carolina: The Dreamliner delays also played into Boeing’s decision to establish a second production line in South Carolina. Boeing 787 supplier Vought Aircraft Industries had trouble with initial production. The supplier also found it difficult to cope financially as a result of the 787 delays.

Boeing’s announcement, made in late October, sent shock waves around the Puget Sound region. Boeing’s unions pointed out that their workers here have been forced to correct problems caused by suppliers elsewhere, including South Carolina. The Everett factory will see an increase in employment as the South Carolina site comes on line. Overall, however, South Carolina won jobs that Washington leaders would have liked to keep in state.

747-8: Dreamliner delays also held up Boeing’s remade 747 jumbo jet. The 747-8 Freighter will make its first flight early in 2010. But Boeing has said it kept engineers on the 787 program rather than switching them over to the 747, forcing Boeing to delay the jumbo jet’s debut as well. As it stands, Boeing has about half its factory tied up in working on “really delayed” jets, Hamilton said.

Tanker: Lawmakers and community leaders in Washington state have upped the importance they place on the upcoming U.S. Air Force tanker competition following Boeing’s decision to place its second 787 line in South Carlolina.

Boeing job cuts: Early in 2009, Boeing leaders said they would slash employment company wide by 6 percent or by roughly 10,000 jobs, in response to tough market conditions. But cutting its workforce also helps Boeing improve its bottom line in light of billions of dollars of extra development and engineering costs caused by the 787’s delay, to say nothing of the compensation sought by Dreamliner and 747-8 customers. Through the end of November, Boeing had cut its Washington state workforce by nearly 4,000. Snohomish County lost about 1,000 aerospace workers — from Boeing and suppliers combined — in 2009.

First flight: Although the delays of the 787 have hurt Boeing and Snohomish County, both got to end 2009 on a high note with the first flight of the Dreamliner. The event gave many Boeing workers, suppliers and political leaders hope that 2010 will be a better year for aerospace in Snohomish County.

Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454, mdunlop@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said Monday, March 13, 2023. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to acquire Bothell-based Seagen

Pfizer announced Monday it plans to acquire Seagen in an all-cash deal for $43 billion.

Lacie Marsh-Carroll stirs wax before pouring candles in her garage at her home on March 17, 2018 in Lake Stevens. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Women business owners in Snohomish, Island counties make their mark

In honor of Women’s History Month, we spotlight three local business owners.

Edmonds International Women’s Day takes place Saturday

The Edmonds gathering celebrates women and diversity with this year’s theme, “EmbraceEquity.”

Owner and CEO Lacie Carroll holds a “Warr;or” candle at the Malicious Women Candle Co workspace in Snohomish, Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. The business is women run and owned. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Malicious Women Co: She turned Crock-Pot candles into a sassy venture

Lacie Marsh-Carroll is rekindling her Snohomish candle company with new designs and products.

Kelly Matthews, 36, left, Tonka, 6, center, and Nichole Matthews, 36, pose for a photo in their home in Lynnwood, Washington on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.  The twin sisters work as freelance comic book artists and illustrators. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Drawing interest: Twin sisters never gave up on making their mark

Lynnwood sisters, Kelly and Nichole Matthews, got their big break a decade ago and now draw comics full time.

Willow Mietus, 50, poses for a photo at her home in Coupeville, Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Mietus bought a former Frito-Lay truck to sell her dyed yarn out of. She calls it "The Wool Wagon." (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The Wool Wagon to hit the streets of Whidbey Island

A self-described “professional yarn temptress” from Coupeville is setting up shop in a modified truck.

IonQ will open a new quantum computing manufacturing and research center at 3755 Monte Villa Parkway in Bothell. (Photo courtesy of IonQ)
Quantum computing firm IonQ to open Bothell R&D center

IonQ says quantum computing systems are key to addressing climate change, energy and transportation.

Nathanael Engen, founder of Black Forest Mushrooms, sits in the lobby of Think Tank Cowork with his 9-year-old dog, Bruce Wayne, on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Growing green mushrooms in downtown Everett

The founder of Black Forest Mushrooms plans to grow gourmet mushrooms locally, reducing their carbon footprint.

Barb Lamoureux, 78, poses for a photo at her office at 1904 Wetmore Ave in Everett, Washington on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Lamoureux, who founded Lamoureux Real Estate in 2004, is retiring after 33 years. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Barb Lamoureux, ‘North Everett’s Real Estate Agent’ retires

A longtime supporter of Housing Hope, Lamoureux helped launch the Windermere Foundation Golf Tournament.

AGC Biologics in Bothell to produce new diabetes treatment

The contract drug manufacturer paired with drug developer Provention Bio to bring the new therapy to market.

The Walmart Store on 11400 Highway 99 on March 21, 2023 in in Everett, Washington. The retail giant will close the store on April 21, 2023. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
Walmart announces Everett store on Highway 99 will close on April 21

The Arkansas-based retail giant said the 20-year-old Walmart location was “underperforming financially.”

Everett Memorial Stadium and Funko Field on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Drive to build new AquaSox ballpark gets $7.4M boost from state

The proposed Senate capital budget contains critical seed money for the city-led project likely to get matched by the House.