Continued job loss runs through all industries

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

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STATEWIDE The almost daily announcements of job cuts are coming from all directions and it seems almost no industries are immune.

"The data we have seen so far is that we are heading into this recession abnormally rapidly," says state labor economist Art Ayre.

In the tech sector, Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker Intel says it will close Fab 20 in Hillsboro, a move that will eliminate up to 1,000 jobs. Tech giant Sun Microsystems, also based in Santa Clara, plans to cut 22 Oregon jobs this spring. San Diego-based wireless networking company Qualcomm will close its Tigard office this year, eliminating 70 jobs. And InFocus in Wilsonville is cutting 90 jobs.

Although it's unclear how many Oregon jobs will be cut, Portland-based Electro Scientific says it will reduce its workforce by 12% in the first quarter of this year. The company makes tools for electronics manufacturers. Another manufacturer, Newberg-based A-dec, plans to cut 100 jobs. It makes dental equipment.

Even health care, for the most part considered safe in the economic downturn, is showing signs of vulnerability. Oregon Health & Science University, one of Portland's largest employers, will cut up to 1,000 jobs by June, and Asante Health System in Medford plans to cut 94 jobs.

A pair of large companies operating in Central Oregon also will trim jobs. Kansas-based Cessna Aircraft, which makes small airplanes, will cut up to 13% of its worldwide workforce of about 15,000; about 120 will come from the company's Bend manufacturing site. Central Point-based Erickson Air-Crane, a helicopter logistics company, recently cut 29 full-time jobs.

Retailers are feeling the pinch and pulling back. Medford-based Harry & David Holdings, the gourmet food and gift retailer, cut 100 full-time Oregon jobs earlier this year.

The mighty Nike also is taking a hit, announcing it will cut 4% of its workforce. As of mid-February, it was unknown how many jobs in Oregon were at risk.

And even being in transportation manufacturing is no hedge. Lake Oswego-based Greenbrier, which makes railcars, says it will cut 150 people.        JASON SHUFFLER


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