Other items: State expects job growth in 2005; WRQ's sale won't spur layoffs; and Bothell shoe firm bought by Russell.

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Boeing confirmed an order of four 7E7-8 airplanes from Vietnam Airlines yesterday, saying the $500 million order is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2005.

Vietnam Airlines originally announced plans to buy four 7E7s in September but was awaiting government approval, which it received in November.

The planes, which are to be delivered in 2010, carry 217 passengers and will be used to replace leased 767s.

Boeing’s tally of Vietnam Airlines’ planned order brings the total of 7E7 order announcements to 126, although only 56 are firm contracts.

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State expects job growth in 2005

After a seven-year slump, Washington’s manufacturing industry is expected to pick up jobs in 2005, according to the state Employment Security Department.

Economists predict slight growth — 0.5 percent — in 2005, followed by more robust job growth of 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent in 2006 and 2007.

Many of the jobs will be in machinery, equipment, food processing and aerospace industries.

The state lost an estimated 100,000 manufacturing jobs since 1998, many of them caused by massive job cuts at Boeing. The aerospace giant has begun hiring again as it designs the new 7E7.

Unlike many jobs that don’t drive the economy, manufacturing jobs carry a multiplier effect. That is, for every production job created, another 1.7 jobs appear elsewhere.


Company’s sale won’t spur layoffs

Seattle software company WRQ will not cut any employees as a result of its sale to a pair of investment firms, Chief Executive Shaun Wolfe said yesterday, a day after the sale closed.

But WRQ may trim some of its underperforming businesses, a move that could reduce staffing.

“Some of our businesses are outperforming, some are underperforming,” he said. “We may make some staffing decisions, but they will be independent of this acquisition.”

Wolfe said WRQ is also “actively pursuing acquisitions” to expand the company, but he would not provide details. Eventually the new owners may take the enlarged company public.

On Dec. 6, the 23-year-old company announced that it was being sold to Francisco Partners and Thoma Cressey Equity. Wolfe, formerly company president, became CEO and president when the sale closed. He replaced co-founder Doug Walker, who retired.

Brooks Sports

Bothell shoe firm bought by Russell

Atlanta-based sporting-goods company Russell said yesterday that it completed its purchase of Brooks Sports, a Bothell company that makes running shoes, for $115 million in cash.

Russell announced earlier this month that it was buying Brooks from Whitney & Co., a Stamford, Conn.-based venture-capital firm.

Brooks, which will operate as an independent subsidiary of Russell, expects to report about $95 million in sales this year. Founded in 1914, Brooks has 165 employees, with 108 in Bothell and Sumner. No layoffs are expected.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff.