Micron, facing ‘severe downturn,’ lays off employees. What we know, and who’s affected

Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

Micron has begun laying off workers, a spokesperson for the company told the Idaho Statesman.

The news marks the beginning of the company’s plan to reduce its global headcount by about 10% over the next year. Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra announced during a quarterly conference call with investors in December that the company is taking significant steps to reduce costs and operating expenses as demand for its principal products wanes.

It’s unclear how many Micron employees in Boise and Meridian will be affected by the cuts. The company did not respond to questions from the Statesman about how many workers were being laid off and what jobs they held.

The Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, requires large companies to provide 60 days’ notice before laying off more than 500 people in a 30-day period. Micron had not filed a notice as of Wednesday, which suggests that fewer than 500 workers may be laid off in Boise.

Micron’s job reductions include a combination of “voluntary attrition, workforce reductions and reduced external hiring,” according to a statement sent Tuesday after the Statesman asked about layoffs. The company said a mix of manufacturing and non-manufacturing jobs across all levels will be affected globally.

“Micron has now started notifying some of the employees impacted by Micron-initiated workforce reductions in the face of the severe downturn that is affecting the entire industry,” the company said.

The Boise company, known for its memory chips used in digital devices, wrote in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the job cuts are a result of challenging industry conditions. In addition to the layoffs, Micron is also slowing production, cutting executive salaries, halting share buybacks and suspending bonuses across the board.

In the long term, the company said it is confident that demand will bounce back.

“We are acting quickly to reduce supply and control costs to address the rapidly changing business environment and will continue to assess if further actions are needed,” the statement said.

The company has roughly 49,000 employees worldwide as of December, according to its latest quarterly earnings report filed with the SEC, including more than 6,000 people in the Treasure Valley. Micron is the largest for-profit employer in Idaho.

Micron previously said it anticipates most of the job cuts will be completed by the end of February.

“The decision to conduct a workforce reduction is truly a last resort, given business conditions and financial performance,” the company said in a statement.

The company has chip manufacturing plants in Virginia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, according to previous Statesman reporting, and operates what it calls a “pilot line” for research and development at its headquarters campus in Southeast Boise.

Micron ended chip manufacturing in Boise 14 years ago, and in the years since, the Boise campus has not only remained Micron’s headquarters but has emerged as its principal research and development center, staffed with engineers and other workers from around the world. The technology is developed in Boise and the chips are manufactured elsewhere.

Last year, Micron announced it would invest billions of dollars to build two new fabs, or plants, for memory manufacturing, including one at its Boise campus and one in Clay, New York. The announcements followed the passage of legislation that authorized federal subsidies for semiconductor companies to expand in the U.S.

Idaho’s largest for-profit employer is laying off workers next year. What we know

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