Afew sparkles of luster are returning to the East Valley’s high-technology sector. After a decline in employment in the early 2000s caused by the dot-com bust and recession, most of the East Valley’s major high-tech employers at least maintained their local head counts during 2005.
Two major corporations — Intel and General Dynamics — dramatically increased their employment, but Freescale Semiconductor and Motorola Inc. experienced small drops. Other top 40 high-tech employers including Boeing, Insight Enterprises, Honeywell International, Microchip Technology and ON Semiconductor, are at about the same level of employment as last year.
Intel Corp., with two massive manufacturing and research complexes in Chandler, has maintained its position as the largest privatesector employer in the East Valley and is once again in hiring mode. After dipping below 10,000 employees in 2004 (to 9,500), the semiconductor giant has raised its employment in Chandler back above 10,000.
Most of the expansion is related to the company’s $3 billion Fab 32 project, the third microprocessor factory at the Ocotillo campus. The company has already started hiring and training people for the state-of-the-art factory, although it’s not scheduled to open until late 2007. It is expected to employ about 1,000 at full production.
“We are taking employees from both of our existing plants and putting them in training for Fab 32, so we are backfilling positions as they become open,” said Intel spokeswoman Jeanne Forbis.
General Dynamics, one of the East Valley’s largest defense contractors, added more than 1,000 employees in the East Valley during the past year. GD, which operates the headquarters of its C4 Systems division at 8201 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale, has been hiring systems and software engineers to work on major communications projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, spokeswoman Fran Jacques said.
The company still has more than 200 positions to fill locally, she said.
Among the programs are the Joint Tactical Radio System and the Mobile User Objective System.
Freescale Semiconductor dropped about 400 positions during the past year, which was related to the company’s downsizing following its spinoff from Motorola in 2004, said spokeswoman Lisa Bradley.
The outlook for the upcoming year is expansion, she said.
Motorola Inc., dropped about 250 East Valley jobs during the past year, mostly from attrition, said spokeswoman Kathi Haas.
Motorola expects its East Valley employment to be stable this year, she said.