AFTER STRUGGLING FOR A year to recruit 19,500 new workers and even going so far as to pilfer some from its own suppliers, Boeing says it now expects to cut 12,000 jobs by the second half of 1998. The company went on the hiring binge because it needs to double production, to 43 jets a month, by the second quarter of 1998. Now, it claims it can do that and still lop some workers next year. The Machinists Union, however, says Boeing is still struggling to get planes out the door, and 1998 will be even more intense as annual deliveries jump from 335 to 550 jets. Analyst Peter Jacobs of Ragen MacKenzie says that with the cuts, Boeing is signaling it intends to get its act together.

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