Southwest Missouri businesses think Boeing jobs could come even if plant locates elsewhere

Across Missouri, legislators, educators and others are doing everything in their power to bring Boeing Co. in for a landing in the state.

Legislators last week approved incentives worth up to $1.7 billion to entice Boeing to assemble the next generation of its 777X jetliners in St. Louis. Education leaders in St. Louis also announced last week the formation of a consortium to train workers for advanced manufacturing jobs at aerospace companies. And Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said construction laborers have agreed to a three-shift, 24-hour work schedule without overtime to help Boeing build the plant it will need to produce its new aircraft.

Boeing already makes military aircraft in the St. Louis area and employs about 15,000 people in Missouri, but the hope is that if Boeing picks Missouri to build the commercial planes, it will create up to 8,000 direct jobs, and thousands more jobs for suppliers, vendors and subcontractors.

According to numbers provided by Boeing, the company currently has more than 680 vendor locations in the state. In all, the company claims to support 30,000 jobs in Missouri.

But a number of large employers in Southwest Missouri with decades-long experience in aviation manufacturing — Leggett and Platt, Ducommun (LaBarge) and EaglePicher Technologies — said contracts with Boeing and jobs for Joplin will not necessarily depend on whether Boeing decides to build in the state.

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