Intel is cutting marketing and finance jobs, but Oregon’s workforce is nearing its all-time high


The chipmaker remains Oregon’s largest private employer, with 19,300 workers in Washington County. That’s just 200 fewer than last year, when the company began an extensive restructuring that included widespread layoffs and buyouts.

(Oregon file photo)

Intel is cutting jobs in its finance organization and sales and marketing group as the chipmaker continues to pressure its divisions to cut operating costs.

The company is still hiring, however, and said Thursday its workforce in Oregon now stands at 19,300, down from just 200 from its peak before major cutbacks began 12 months ago.

Intel declined to comment on the latest job cuts, but inside company sources say they could number in the dozens or possibly more than 100 at a company that employs 106,000 people worldwide.

That makes them an order of magnitude less than the job cuts in 2015 and 2016. Last year alone, Intel cut 15,000 jobs across the company to prepare for the long-term decline of its core PC business.

In its financial group, Intel consolidates the work of many sites in “shared service centers” in Costa Rica and Malaysia. Sources familiar with Intel’s plans say few, if any, people will lose their jobs and that Intel slowed the hiring of junior employees last year in preparation for the change.

Employees in Intel’s sales and marketing group learned last week that the organization would be laying off workers to comply with “corporate spending targets,” according to a memo from Greg Pearson, the vice president of Intel. ‘Intel running the group. The memo sent to employees earlier this month outlined further spending cuts, including restructuring part of the organization, but did not specify how many people would lose their jobs.

Sales and marketing make up less than 2% of Intel’s total workforce, according to 2015 employment data reviewed by The Oregonian/OregonLive. And there’s no indication that this month’s cuts are particularly big.

When Intel began its sweeping restructuring last year, the company said it needed to cut spending in some areas to free up resources to invest in new opportunities. These include memory chips, self-driving cars, and a new class of connected devices and devices known as the Internet of Things.

As Intel pursues these new markets, its sales have been boosted by growing demand for microprocessors to power the large data centers that power the Internet and store vast amounts of corporate data. Revenue grew more than 7% in 2016, to a record high of $59.4 billion.

Although Intel’s headquarters are in California, the company’s largest and most advanced operations are in Hillsboro.

Intel laid off 784 Oregon employees during cutbacks last year and offered buyouts or early retirement packages to thousands more employees in Washington County. The company, however, remains the largest private employer in the state, apparently because Intel has been hiring for new local positions.

In other places, the cuts have had a profound effect. Several small sites have closed completely and Intel revealed this week that it has cut employment at its aging factories near Albuquerque, New Mexico, by 37% over the past year. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Intel now has 1,200 employees working there, up from 1,900 at the end of 2015.

The New Mexico site employed 3,300 people as recently as 2013, according to the Journal. But Intel skipped three generations of manufacturing upgrades in New Mexico, putting the factory there at risk of obsolescence.

–Mike Rogoway; Twitter: @rogoway; 503-294-7699

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