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PASADENA (CBS) — Another 40 employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were laid off last week as the astronomy research center continues to reduce its staff.

The Pasadena Star-News reported that the late-summer layoffs were in addition to the 200-250 jobs that were eliminated last spring, according to JPL spokeswoman Veronica McGregor.

McGregor said most of the recent layoffs were in the center’s facilities and business divisions.

JPL is funded by NASA and administered by Caltech for the federal government. Its staff designs, constructs and operates interplanetary space probes and Earth-orbiting science satellites.

NASA’s overall budget is flat at about $18.7 billion, the newspaper reported.

In August, Los Angeles County’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.5 percent.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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