Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Piece of Good Economic News: Intel

Not often that I get to hear some good economic news for Oregon, so this e-mail from Bill MacKenzie at Intel (whom I met when we were both on OPB's "Think Out Loud" after Intel announced job cuts in Oregon) cheered me up:

Intel Announces $1.5 billion Investment in Oregon

To support the coming move to its next-generation 32nm chip manufacturing technology, Intel announced today that it will add to its already large factory network with the largest-ever investment in a single process technology…and all the investment will be in the United States.

Intel will deploy $7 billion to upgrade factories in Oregon, New Mexico and Arizona to manufacture silicon wafers with the world’s most advanced 32nm process technology. Approximately $1.5 billion of that investment will be made at Intel Oregon during 2009-2010. This will be on top of $1 billion already invested in 32nm at Intel Oregon during 2008, translating into a $2.5 billion investment in 32nm at Intel Oregon.

The 32nm technology used in Intel’s manufacturing process builds chip circuitry 32nm (32/billionths of a meter) across – incredibly small atomic structures.

This is the kind of investment by American businesses that, combined with well-crafted federal stimulus legislation, will lead the country out of this economic downturn.

The new multi-billion dollar investment will ensure that state-of-the art chip technology will continue to be made in America, where more than 75 percent of Intel’s manufacturing continues to take place. Intel’s investments in Oregon, Intel’s largest and most comprehensive site, send a clear and strong message that Oregon will remain the location where Intel continues to do its most highly advanced technology development and manufacturing.

At a time when job preservation and creation is of paramount importance, the jobs associated with this investment are high-skill, high-wage, high-tech manufacturing jobs that are the economic engines of the states where they are located. The investment will also support thousands of contract jobs for technicians and workers who reconfigure the factories.

Intel anticipates that the Oregon investment in this technology process, consisting of new process technology equipment and facility upgrades, will occur at its D1C and D1D fabs on its Ronler Acre Campus in Hillsboro and at its Aloha Campus. The initial stages of the investment have already begun and are expected to continue into the first half of 2010.

This investment is designed to preserve hundreds of high-wage jobs currently in Oregon and jobs in Oregon that are tied to Intel’s continued success. It is a significant upgrade to the facility and takes advantage of the skills of the existing workforce. The Oregon upgrade will also lead to the employment of 1,500 contract workers.

Business spending and investment in the U.S. fell at a 12.3% rate in Q4 2008. In that same period, spending on equipment and software dropped at almost a 30% rate, the highest rate in 50 years. This commitment by Intel to $5-7 billion in capital investment should be seen as a positive indicator for the US economy. Real stimulation of the American economy will come from private sector investments such as this.

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