2 Sep 2010

United States missile range in Marshall Islands cuts 79 jobs

7:08 pm on 2 September 2010

The American missile testing base on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands announced job layoffs this week but the numbers were much less than expected.

The United States Army's plans to layoff up to 250 American and Marshall Islands base workers had sparked worries but just 28 Marshallese and 51 Americans are to lose their jobs.

The president of Kwajalein Range Services, Dave Norwood, which manages the base, says he faced a 20 percent budget corresponding to 250 jobs.

He says they got around this by not filling 150 vacant positions, reducing the hours of some workers and laying off 79 workers.

From a high of about 1,400 workers in the early 2000s, the latest cuts will mean just 775 Marshall Islanders will be working at Kwajalein.

The American workforce in heyday of missile testing in the 1980s was more than 2,000, but this will fall to about 900, according to Army officials.