- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Newport News Shipbuilding told 738 workers Friday that they will be laid off in February.

Shipyard president Matt Mulherin announced the layoffs in a letter to employees. The company is required by law to give 60 days’ notice of large workforce reductions.

Earlier this year, Mulherin said the shipyard would lay off more than 1,500 workers by the end of 2016. In September, 480 workers were idled.

Mulherin said in his letter that more layoffs are expected next year, but the shipyard’s workload will increase in 2017. He says he hopes many of the laid-off workers will return at that time.

Meanwhile, he said, the company will provide benefits and help affected workers find new jobs.

The company said it had no comment on layoffs beyond what was in the letter.

The 550-acre shipyard, owned by Huntington Ingalls Industries, has about $4 billion in annual revenue and about 22,000 employees. It is the only builder of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and one of two providers of submarines to the service.

The shipyard also has completed hundreds of ship repair projects for the U.S. government, ranging from paint repair to complete hull and machinery renovation.

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