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Northrop to reduce workforce by 500 people

August 25, 2011 | 10:26 am

Northrop

Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. is cutting 500 jobs in its aerospace division, with most of the losses likely to hit workers in Southern California.

Northrop's aerospace systems division, based in Redondo Beach, currently has about 18,000 people working in the Southland. The company began offering a voluntary layoff program Thursday, but if 500 people don't step up before the end of the year, layoffs will begin.

"This action is being taken because of defense budget uncertainties and pressures on current and projected business," Jim Hart, a Northrop spokesman, said in a statement. "We must adjust our budgets by the end of this year to be prepared to meet the challenges of what shapes up as a demanding 2012. This is a necessary step to address the affordability that will allow us to effectively compete in a very cost-conscious marketplace."

The aerospace industry has been steadily downsizing to reflect new budget realities in Washington, where Congress has tightened purse strings on the Pentagon.

News of the voluntary buyouts and layoffs comes the same week that the company moved its corporate headquarters from Century City to Falls Church, Va. About 300 people were employed there.

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-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

Photo: Northrop's B-2 stealth bomber on a runway. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corp.

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