NASSCO-General Dynamics, the last major shipbuilder on the West Coast, laid off 290 of its 4,100 workers in San Diego on Monday because of a downturn in business and fluctuations in the repair work it does for the U.S. Navy.
The company, which is among San Diego County’s 20 largest employers, also eliminated the jobs of 270 subcontractors. The overall loss of 560 jobs was about half the number that NASSCO had said earlier it might have to cut.
The layoffs came one day before NASSCO delivers the Empire State, a 600-foot-long commercial oil tanker that will be used by the Navy. The shipyard is finishing work on Evergreen State, another commercial ship. The company originally was contracted to build nine tankers, but the number was trimmed to five. NASSCO doesn’t have any orders for other commercial vessels. The company also is building the last of the Lewis and Clark class dry cargo ships on order from the Navy.
Over the past decade, the size of its workforce has fluctuated greatly. It has ranged from roughly 7,800 to less than 4,000. It later grew slightly to 4,100.
The company is competing for the right to build the Mobile Landing Platform, vessels that transfer cargo while at sea. The contract could be awarded early next year and work could begin on the first ship as early as July 2011.