June 2, 2016 / 12:42 PM / a year ago

Boeing to lay off 211 workers in Washington state, agency says

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The logo of Boeing (BA) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 22, 2016.Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Thursday it plans to lay off 211 employees in Washington state on July 22, a group that includes information technology workers that Boeing is letting go in a cost-cutting drive.

The Chicago-based aerospace and defense company said last week it would cut an unspecified number of IT workers through involuntary layoffs.

Washington state's Employment Security Department said late on Wednesday that it had received notice of 211 layoffs planned by the company.

Boeing is slashing costs as it battles for sales with European rival Airbus and tries to widen its profit margins to the mid-teens by the end of the decade, from 7.9 percent in the first quarter.

Boeing spokesman Kent Cato said the layoffs include the IT positions and a few jobs from its defense business and corporate organization.

The company is simultaneously laying off IT workers in other states, including 11 in Texas, but the bulk of the job reductions are in Washington state, Boeing spokeswoman Lauren McFarland said. She said Boeing has about 6,500 IT workers.

The layoffs include management and non-management workers and are being made across the company, McFarland said.

Separately, Boeing is using voluntary layoffs to cut about 4,000 positions by mid-year and up to 8,000 by year-end at its commercial airplanes division.

At the end of April, Boeing had 158,916 employees, including 77,497 in Washington state.

Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg told an investor conference in New York on Thursday that the company is cutting costs to remain competitive with Airbus, but is not cutting airplane prices "dramatically" to win orders.

Editing by Bernadette Baum, Dan Grebler and Bill Rigby

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