Nov 102004
 
Authors: Katie Kelley

The high-tech industries have been hit hard after nearly 400

jobs have been cut since mid-October in Fort Collins.

The job-loss surge among companies such as Advanced Energy,

Agilent Technologies, Celestica Inc. and LSI Logic may be more than

just a recent trend.

J.J. Johnston, president and CEO of Northern Colorado Economic

Development Corporation, said he believes that this is more than a

sudden burst of job cuts and that it is actually a continually

occurring trend throughout the nation.

“The job losses are a global trend because the demand for

semiconductor products has been soft for some time now,” Johnston

said. “Coupled with this global trend, there are more and more

engineers that are graduating from India and China. There is an

excess of new emerging markets to India and China in order to be

closer to the industry.”

Kathy Mazzotta, a former information technology project manager

at Agilent Technologies in Loveland who was laid off in 2001,

agreed that this is not a new trend. She said it is an ongoing

dilemma of outsourcing potential jobs to a more affordable labor

force.

“It took years to get where I was,” Mazzotta said. “My

colleagues and I were all saying the same thing; “offer us our jobs

with less pay and we will take them.” Instead they let our jobs go

overseas.”

Mazzotta maintained her position at Agilent Technologies for 30

years before her job was outsourced to India. She is still looking

for permanent work in her field of expertise.

The most recent occurrences of job cuts happened Monday when

Celestica Inc., a leader in electronics manufacturing services,

announced its plans to layoff 44 employees from its Fort Collins

site.

Celestica Inc. has approximately 49 sites worldwide.

Lisa Muenkel, communications manager for the America’s

operational region at Celestica Inc., said the jobs were cut

because of a “global restructuring plan” that Celestica Inc. is

implementing.

“The global restructuring plan looks at the different regions

and our customers needs. It’s OK for us to transfer these jobs,”

Muenkel said. “Job losses were across the site including jobs in

manufacturing and non-manufacturing. It was not specific to one

area.”

The loss of these high-tech jobs is affecting the Fort Collins

economy.

“We have seen a number of layoffs within the past couple of

weeks within the high-tech sector,” said David May, president of

Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce. “Because of the layoffs, from the

past couple of years, there has been a $300 million gross metro

product loss. The current unemployment rate is 5.5 percent.”

May said these lost jobs could also affect the retail

industry.

“It has a ripple effect within the community,” May said. “The

issue is, with these types of cuts, we’ve lost more primary jobs

that import money into the market as payroll and this payroll is

what is used for retail and sales services.”

So far retail sales in Fort Collins have not been affected,

according to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Web site,

revenue.state.co.us.

Many are wondering if the job loss will continue in Fort Collins

and the Northern Colorado area.

“I think it will continue,” May said. “This is a national

phenomenon and the economy is restructuring itself. The obvious

downside is very painful financially. The jobs are gone and for the

most part they won’t be coming back.”

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