BOISE - Micron Technology, formerly Idaho’s largest private employer, announced today that it’ll lay off 500 Idaho workers “in the near term” and 2,000 by the end of next summer.
The computer chip manufacturing firm will phase out manufacturing of 200 mm wafers at its Boise plant, though it will retain other operations there.
“We remained hopeful that the demand for these products would stabilize in the marketplace and start to improve as we moved into the spring,” said Steve Appleton, Micron chairman and CEO. “Unfortunately, a better environment has not materialized, and we are at a point where we wanted to let our employees and the community know in advance what will occur later this summer.”
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter responded with a pledge of state assistance, including extending hours at Treasure Valley unemployment offices. “All of state government stands ready to assist people facing the challenges of unemployment, job training and placement needs,” Otter said. “I am directing Roger Madsen and his crew at the Idaho Department of Labor to extend their hours at Treasure Valley employment offices, and I want to assure everyone that our state employees and resources are focused on serving Idaho citizens at this difficult time.”
In a press release, Micron said it will continue to operate its 300 mm wafer research and development fabrication facility at the Boise site and “perform a variety of other activities, including reticle manufacturing, product design and support, quality assurance, systems integration and related manufacturing, corporate and general services.”
The new layoffs are in addition to a 15 percent global workforce reduction the Boise-based firm announced last October. By the end of summer, Micron expects to employ about 5,000 people in Idaho - less than half its level of just a few years ago.
The company reported, “Cash restructuring charges will be approximately $50 million, which will generate a gross annualized operating cash benefit of $150 million. The net operating cash flow effect will be neutral for fiscal year 2009.”
The laid-off workers will get severance payments and “outplacement services.”
According to the Associated Press, after the layoffs, Micron will have fewer workers in Idaho than Wal-Mart or St. Luke’s hospitals, each of which has about 7,500 Idaho employees