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Cisco and others slash a combined 1,500 jobs in Silicon Valley

Cisco Systems announced this month that it will eliminate up to 5,500 jobs worldwide. About 900 of those jobs are in San Jose.
(Monica M. Davey / European Pressphoto Agency)

Despite record levels of tech employment fueled by a hiring boom, employment cutbacks have jolted workers at Cisco Systems Inc. and other tech firms in Silicon Valley, reductions that combined would erase about 1,500 jobs.

Cisco confirmed Monday evening that it has formally notified state labor officials of about roughly 900 job cuts in San Jose, where it has its headquarters.

“Today’s market requires Cisco and our customers to be decisive, move with greater speed and drive more innovation than we’ve seen in our history,” Robyn Blum, a spokeswoman for Cisco, said in emailed comments.

Separately, Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has filed an official notice with the state Employment Development Department for cuts totaling 435 jobs associated with the permanent closure of facilities in San Jose.

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Micrel, which in August 2015 was bought by Arizona-based Microchip Technology Inc. amid a painful consolidation of the semiconductor industry, has filed a notice for job cuts totaling 195.

The filings gave an effective date of Aug. 18 for the Cisco layoffs, Sept. 28 for the Micrel cutbacks and Oct. 21 for the Ericsson layoffs.

This month, Cisco announced a restructuring in which it said it would eliminate up to 5,500 jobs worldwide, about 7% of its workforce.

“Consistent with our culture, we will treat those leaving Cisco with respect and offer them support through the transition,” Blum said.

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The surge in tech hiring has been robust enough in recent years that the Bay Area now has a record number of technology jobs, hitting levels that top even the levels of the dot-com era. But layoffs don’t contradict the overall trend of rising technology employment throughout Silicon Valley and nearby areas, said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

“Tech is a dynamic industry, and that dynamism makes the Bay Area the capital of technology,” Levy said. “There is a lot of expansion and there are also some companies that lose out and companies that are forced to adapt. That means lots of growth and lots of change.”

Avalos writes for the East Bay Times/McClatchy.

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