Lockheed reduces number of furloughed workers

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp , the Pentagon’s biggest supplier, and other defense companies rallied on Monday after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recalled most civilian defense employees despite the ongoing shutdown of the U.S. government.

Lockheed shares were trading up 1.5 percent, or $1.92, at $124.42 around mid-afternoon, while shares of Northrop Grumman Corp were up 2.3 percent, or $2.15 to trade, at $95.48. Raytheon Co shares were trading up 1.5 percent, or $1.12, at $75.37.

Lockheed said on Monday it was scaling back its planned furlough of 3,000 workers by 20 percent given Hagel’s decision to recall most of the Pentagon’s civilian workers.

Lockheed said about 2,400 of its workers would still be unable to return to work because the government facilities where they work are closed or the government has halted work on programs.

Of the 2,400 affected Lockheed workers in 27 states, about 2,100 worked on programs for civilian agencies, with the remainder working on military programs, the company said, noting that most of the workers were based in Washington.

Lockheed, which provides information technology services for many government agencies in addition to building fighter jets and coastal warships, had announced on Friday that it would furlough about 3,000 workers on Monday because of the shutdown.

“Lockheed Martin will work closely with our customers to support the return of (Defense Contract Management Agency) inspectors, and other (Department of Defense) civilian customers, as they resume their important work on many of our programs,” said Lockheed spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

“We continue to urge Congress and the Administration to come to an agreement that funds the government as soon as possible,” he said.

Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp , also canceled temporary layoffs that had been scheduled to start on Monday after news that the Pentagon was recalling most civilian workers.

Sikorsky, which builds Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters and other aircraft for the U.S. military, had announced last week that it would lay off nearly 2,000 workers beginning Monday, and possibly as many as 5,000 if the shutdown continued into November.

United Technologies shares were up 22 cents at $104.49.

One of few weapons makers whose shares traded lower on Monday was Boeing Co , whose commercial aircraft arm lost a big contract to its European rival. Boeing shares were down 20 cents at $117.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Gevirtz)