After a decade of downsizing at its Folsom campus, Intel Corp. has begun hiring again.
The Santa Clara-based high-tech company, one of the largest private employers in the Sacramento region, said it has added nearly 370 workers to its local operation since January. The move boosts Intel’s local payroll by about 6 percent – to 6,515 workers.
While 370 jobs won’t do much to offset the 70,000 lost in the region since 2007, the fact that Intel is hiring again carries some significance. When Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Apple arrived in Sacramento starting three decades ago, community leaders envisioned the area becoming a major tech hub. But local payrolls at the three firms were steadily shrinking long before the recession hit.
Intel’s recent hiring spurt “is one of the brighter spots in a rather grim environment,” said Martin Kenney, a University of California, Davis, professor who has studied the high-tech industry.
Intel said that many of the new hires are recent college graduates and are among the 4,000 U.S. workers that company CEO Paul Otellini promised to hire in February. That’s when he and President Barack Obama toured Intel’s Oregon factory.
Intel spokesman Mark Pettinger noted that the company has recently instituted a hiring freeze. But Pettinger added that Intel could bring on additional hires at the Folsom campus if the economy picks up.
Intel is the world’s largest computer chip maker with an 80 percent share of the market. Sales of microprocessors for PCs, the company’s main niche, are growing but have slowed in some markets.
In July, the company reported its fifth consecutive quarter of record revenues with double-digit gains in each of its business segments. The company’s stock closed at $23.50 on Friday, which is near a 52-week high.