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Lockheed's Hiring Is Bright Spot Amid Wave of Coronavirus Layoffs

While other companies are paring payroll, Lockheed Martin is on a hiring spree.

Lockheed Martin  (LMT) - Get Report said it has hired nearly a thousand new employees even as companies around the country have slashed payrolls amid the coronavirus-driven economic downturn.

The giant defense contractor, which relies heavily on federal work, said in a statement attributed to CEO Marillyn Hewson that the hires came over the past two weeks and were part of a broader effort amid the crisis to "support our employees, vulnerable companies in our supply chain, and those on the front lines of the medical crisis."

The Bethesda, Maryland-based defense contractor, which employs 110,000 across the world, also said that it continues to advertise 5,000 open positions.

Lockheed's announcement comes as unemployment numbers soar across the country, with more than 700,000 people losing their jobs in March, the worst tally since the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

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But the defense sector remains a growth sector, with the Trump administration having boosted military spending each year, with a 6.6% increase in 2020, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Lockheed Martin recently won an $818 million deal with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to produce the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM.

In addition, Lockheed Martin said it will be raising by another $53 million accelerated payments to small businesses in its supply chain, boosting the total to $106 million.

The defense contractor is also now producing face shields for use by medical workers and has donated $2 million in personal protective equipment.

Shares of Lockheed Martin edged up 0.19% to $354.62 a share on Friday.