Wichita: The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times?


Things are good in Wichita for some companies, but not so good for others. According to The Wichita Eagle, some 2000 people have applied for as many as 500 sheet-metal fabrication jobs at Cessna, while Raytheon finds itself in the opening stages of laying off up to 350 workers. Of course, where they could go to get another job in aviation should be a no-brainer for laid-off Raytheon employees with the right skills. Still, the grass is not necessarily greener, however, since Cessna isn’t exactly expanding and Raytheon isn’t exactly shrinking. In Cessna’s case, the new jobs are being added slowly, a few at a time, to meet demand for the company’s popular series of Citation jets. But that demand is not being accompanied by increases in the number of employees in Wichita. At the same time, Raytheon’s layoffs have less to do with a precipitous decline in demand for the company’s products and more to do with increased outsourcing — in this case, of wiring-harness fabrication to an Oklahoma-based company that will have the work done in Mexico. That said, Raytheon has found itself in the crosshairs of a two-year-long Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation focusing on financial reporting and accounting practices. The company has reached a tentative agreement with the SEC to settle for a $12 million civil penalty violation of securities laws. The SEC investigation focused on how Raytheon accounted for the sale of business jets built from 1997 through 2001.