Main image of article Layoffs at Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit AeroSystems announced Thursday it is laying off approximately 360 salaried support and management personnel. The affected employees, according to Reuters, reportedly includes engineers and other information technology workers. The Kansas-based company, which provides fuselages to aircraft manufacturers, is making the job cuts at its Kansas and Oklahoma facilities. “Today’s action is a strategic move to make the company more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment, and results from an ongoing workforce assessment designed to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiency and drive improved performance,” the company said in a statement. Although the company cited containing costs as the reason for the workforce reduction, it did not specifically attribute the need to sequestration, or federal budget cuts that have hit the defense and aerospace industries particularly hard. The fuselage maker reportedly is leaving structural engineers and stress engineers untouched in these layoffs, which will leave the company with approximately 16,000 workers worldwide, according to Reuters. Just three years ago, the aerospace and defense industries were touted as viable employers, as the nation emerged from a recession. In 2010, for example, the industries were slated to hire nearly 15,500 people in a variety of occupations. Much of that hiring was attributed to a concern in the industries that its aging workforce, of which 30 percent were between 50 to 59 years old, would soon be eligible for retirement. But with sequestration, much has changed over the past year. A couple million people are estimated to lose their jobs because of the fiscal cliff cuts, with many of them expected to be in IT. And while IT professionals have felt the bite of layoffs from sequestration, in this particular case not one was pegged to it. In fact, Zacks investment research even listed AeroSystems as one of the “3 Defense Stocks Defying Sequestion.” The company noted in its layoff announcement that “Spirit remains a strong company with a robust backlog of approximately $36 billion.”