Intel has a massive plant in Rio Rancho, New Mexico that has been a cornerstone of the community for nearly a generation. But Intel’s recent declaration of massive job cuts has created uncertainty in one of the largest cities in New Mexico, says ABC News.
Intel vital for Rio Rancho’s existence
Rio Rancho used to be a sleepy town, but the chip maker has grown it to a sprawling area of 94,000 residents. It is expected that the details the company is going to unveil this week will determine the fate of the plants in Rio Rancho, Oregon, Arizona and California.
The number of workers at the facility has declined steadily in recent years, and currently, it has 1,900 employees. The plant came into operation in 1980 with 25 people and at its peak had 7,000 employees.
Terri Cole, President and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, said, “Intel is one of most important companies, not just for Rio Rancho, but for the state of New Mexico. They create the types of jobs we want. Any talk of job cuts make us all uneasy.”
Last week, the Santa Clara, California-based chip maker announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs or about 11% of its workforce. The move underscores its effort to reorganize amid declining personal computer sales. Intel operates an aging facility in Rio Rancho producing nanometer chips, which are becoming obsolete.
Rio Rancho’s fate still undecided
Jim McGregor, a principal analyst at high-tech research and advisory firm TIRIAS Research, said that despite Intel’s confirmation that it won’t be closing any plants in the near future, he is unable to see a bright future for the Rio Rancho facility. It is an old factory and may die a slow and painful death, as finding another viable use for it would be hard, the analyst said.
Intel said that many voluntary and involuntary departures will be included in the job cuts over the coming years. The company is consolidating some of its PC chip operations at a few locations, and this will lead to job cuts. Intel’s layoffs are not the only depressing news for the state. Oil and natural gas prices are sagging, and this has affected the state’s revenue negatively since they are the two key industries in the state, the report says.
Natasha Martell Jackson, a spokeswoman for Intel’s Rio Rancho unit, said the company does not want to reveal any details regarding the possible job cuts in Rio Rancho or elsewhere at present.