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Intel Layoffs Are 'Significant' In Oregon, The State's Largest Private Employer

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now we have the story of a transition in a tech company. People have been buying fewer personal computers. The desktop loses out to the laptop, the tablet, the smartphone, which is bad for Intel, which makes the chips inside many PCs. The company is now laying off 12,000 workers, many of them in the Pacific Northwest. Here is Conrad Wilson of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

CONRAD WILSON, BYLINE: So far, Intel's announced it will close a site in Washington state that currently employs about 350 people. In Oregon, the company says it plans to lay off nearly 800 workers. Intel is Oregon's largest private employer.

ANDY DUYCK: It's very significant.

WILSON: Andy Duyck chairs the Washington County Board of Commissioners. It's a suburban county, just outside Portland, where Intel's Oregon offices are based. Duyck says Intel brings some of the state's highest-paid, most educated people to the county.

DUYCK: If you had a dollar in your pocket, between 25 and 29 cents of that dollar is in your pocket because of Intel's presence in Washington County.

WILSON: But Duyck says job losses at tech firms are part of the innovation process.

DUYCK: It's something that we really should anticipate is going to happen continuously if the company is doing what they should be doing.

ALEC LEVENSON: The main thing that they're shifting away from is desktops and even laptops.

WILSON: Alec Levenson is with the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. He says Intel is shifting towards mobile and movable.

LEVENSON: I mean, now your cellphone is a computer. Your watch, you know, is a computer. And more and more appliances are going to be computers as well. And that's the area that they're trying to get into.

WILSON: In a blog post Tuesday, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich wrote the company would focus on cloud computing and faster wireless conductivity, among other things. Mark Hung is vice president of research at Gartner, and he says Intel is trimming the fat.

MARK HUNG: I don't want to imply that just because there's a reduction in resources that somehow they're going to necessarily come out with lesser products or fewer products.

WILSON: In addition to Washington and Oregon, Intel has announced job cuts in California and Arizona. For NPR News, I'm Conrad Wilson in Portland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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