Shutdown furloughs ending for defense industry

“We expect all U.S. government facilities to open, stop work orders to be lifted and for our operations to return to normal as soon as our customers are all back in place and have informed us that we may resume many critical programs that were halted during the shutdown,” Lockheed said.

A Lockheed official said that some employees had returned to work, but others were waiting until it was clear when government programs would come back online.

BAE Systems Inc., which furloughed 1,200 employees during the shutdown, reduced the number to 500 this week and will have all employees returning soon, a spokesman said.

Lockheed, BAE and many other defense firms had warned of more widespread furloughs during the shutdown, but the Pentagon’s decision to bring back more than 95 percent of its furloughed civilian workforce prompted the contractors to cancel most of the planned furloughs.

While the shutdown is over and the prospect of default has been pushed back, the defense industry is still staring down defense cuts under sequestration for 2014, which would take effect in January.

— This story was updated at 2:25 p.m.