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Intel To Cut 1,000 Jobs in New Mexico

Intel Corp. said Tuesday that it expects to cut more than 1,000 jobs at its Rio Rancho plant as the company ends production of an older silicon wafer technology.

Intel will stop making the 200-millimeter wafers at the plant by the end of August, and affected employees will be offered severance packages or can apply for other jobs within the company, spokesman Jami Grindatto said.

"Both options give you a great package, a competitive package," he said. "It's based on years of service."

Some of the employees whose jobs are being cut have worked for the company for as many as 25 years, Grindatto said.

The Rio Rancho plant employs about 5,000 people among Intel's worldwide work force of 92,000. The exact number of job cuts that will result from the end of production at the plant's Fab 11 unit is unknown, Grindatto said.

He said the 200-millimeter technology has become obsolete, and the Rio Rancho plant's Fab 11X unit will focus on manufacturing the 300-millimeter wafers that are in higher demand.

Fab 11X began production in October 2002 and was Intel's first 300-millimeter high-volume, fully automated manufacturing facility.

Grindatto said market demand for products played a role in the job cuts, but a more automated process also means fewer workers.

"We're able to produce more per employee," he said. "It's about how innovative we are and how productive we can be."

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel announced earlier this year that it was investing $1.5 billion to upgrade Fab 11X so it will be able to produce chips with circuit lines 45 nanometers thick, nearly half the size of current chip technology. It's the company's next generation manufacturing process.

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