Northrop Grumman to lay off 200, mostly in Baltimore area

Defense contractor says cuts come on top of about 600 voluntary buyouts

May 13, 2011|By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. expects to lay off about 200 employees at the end of the month, most of them in the Baltimore area.

In March, the company said it would need to cut 500 jobs in its electronic systems sector — either through buyouts or layoffs — as a result of a reduction in business it attributed to "delays and uncertainty in a number of domestic and international programs."

Spokesman Jack Martin Jr. said Friday that about 600 employees were approved for buyouts, largely in Maryland, but that there weren't enough in all areas with "an insufficient amount of work" to forestall pink slips.

Most of the layoffs will come at four Baltimore-area locations: the division's Linthicum headquarters and at facilities in Annapolis, Sykesville and Elkridge. Locations in Virginia, Connecticut and Florida will also be affected, Martin said.

Employees whose jobs are being eliminated will be notified on Tuesday, he said. Their last work day will be May 31.

Bob Hannon, president of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., which spearheads economic development efforts for the county, said the company got good participation from employees choosing to leave voluntarily with severance. "It certainly is regretful that there's going to be additional actual layoffs," he said.

Hannon hopes that workers affected by the cuts will be able to make the jump to the growing cybersecurity field. A nearly $5 million federal grant is covering the cost of cyber training for unemployed workers in the region.

Northrop Grumman's electronic systems sector is a major local employer with more than 8,000 workers in the Baltimore region.

It isn't the only defense contracting giant cutting back: Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp. announced this month that it is laying off 38 workers — primarily engineers — at its Middle River location. That was part of a 227-job cutback nationwide.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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