Laid-off techies won’t go away

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009

PORTLAND In the final five months of 2008, somewhere between 2,000 and 2,400 workers in Silicon Forest lost their jobs. In some cases, companies such as Hynix Semiconductor and Hewlett-Packard shut down entire manufacturing facilities; in other cases, companies ranging from large — Lattice Semiconductor and Yahoo — to tiny — Iterasi — pared down their workforce in anticipation of a long-term economic drought.

The lost jobs represent only a fraction of Oregon’s total workforce. But they’re part of a significant downward trend in one of the state’s valued economic clusters. For example, year-to-date figures from October show an almost 8% drop in jobs in the computer and electronic manufacturing industry.

According to anecdotal accounts, those laid-off workers are taking different paths to re-employment. Some are switching industries; others are waiting for jobs in the tech cluster to reopen. One thing they’re not doing is leaving Oregon.

In October, Portland Community College’s workforce development program saw 12 tech workers get rehired at both small and large Silicon Forest companies; others left the industry altogether and were hired by banks. The program’s director, Jackie Sandquist, says they’re watching a wide range of companies, from hospitals to athletic clubs, for possible tech-related jobs.

Some workers who want to stay in tech are trying to use this time as a chance to jump on what they hope is the next big thing. “Everyone is very interested in clean tech,” says Nancy King, owner of the Portland executive recruitment firm Nancy King Search. “You want to be able to grow with the next growth industry.”

Neither Sandquist, King or Harvey Mathews, director of the Software Association of Oregon, see workers leaving the state. Historically, they say, tech workers have been willing to make fiscal and career sacrifices in order to stay. “There’s not a lot of rose-colored glasses on,” says Mathews. “They know 2009 is going to be tough but they’re going to find a way to get through it.”                   

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Brain Storm

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA

Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Urban benediction

Linda Baker
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
072215 THUMB Credit-PontificalAcademyofSciencesBY LINDA BAKER

Charlie Hales has long viewed sound urban planning as the route to salvation: social, economic and environmental. This week, the mayor's city design philosophy got the nod of approval from a bona fide spiritual authority, Pope Francis.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened its third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; another outpost in Bend broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

Fixing Oregon’s broken roads

The Latest
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
RUCCostComparison rev4-30BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The technology at the center of Oregon’s road usage fee reform.


Read more...

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS