Plant Now Employs 1,200, Down From 5,000 in Mid Aughts
Intel Corp. reduced its Rio Rancho workforce by 700 people in 2016, and the plant now employs around 1,200, Intel said Monday.
“Nearly half the employees that left the Rio Rancho site were retirements,” Intel said in its annual report to the Sandoval County Commission. “Most of the remainder were relocated or chose a voluntary separation package.”
Intel has been reducing the size of its Rio Rancho workforce since the mid 2000s when the facility employed more than 5,000 people.
At the beginning of 2016, the Rio Rancho facility employed 1,900 people.
Intel announced last year that it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its global workforce over the coming year as it shifted away from computer chips to chips for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
At the time, Intel didn’t say how many jobs would be lost at the Rio Rancho facility, and experts speculated that the losses would be around 400.
The past decade has not been good for the plant. The factory employed about 5,500 in the mid-2000s. That had dropped to 2,300 in the beginning of 2015, and to 1,900 at the beginning of 2016. And, the facility hasn’t had a major investment from Intel since 2009.
Perhaps an indication of the plant’s fate is that Intel seems to have closed its checkbook for the facility. The plant hasn’t received a major upgrade since 2009. And, Intel has drawn down only $6 billion of the $16 billion industrial revenue bond deal with Sandoval County in 2004. The firm has until October 2019 to use all of its IRB authority.
And while Intel said in its report to Sandoval County that it spent $43 million on the Rio Rancho facility in 2016, that is paltry compared to $7 billion the firm will be putting into its Chandler, Ariz., plant in the next three or four years.
In February, Intel announced that it will be building out its uncompleted Fab 42 plant in Chandler, a move the company said will “create approximately 3,000 high-tech, high-wage jobs for process engineers, equipment technicians and facilities-support engineers.”
The Chandler plant will produce 7 nanometer microprocessing chips that will “power data centers and hundreds of millions of smart phones and connected devices,” Intel said at the time.
The Rio Rancho facility produces 300 mm chips, which are no longer considered cutting-edge.
In its report Monday, Intel said that the Rio Rancho facility is one of its “high-volume manufacturing facilities that we continue to invest in and support.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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