chip­mak­ing equip­ment firm is adding full-time jobs for first time in 3 years as sales soar

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Kirk Laden­dorf

Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als Inc. is adding reg­u­lar full­time jobs in Austin for the first time in three years, the com­pany an­nounced Mon­day.

The largest maker of semi­con­duc­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment said it is go­ing to add more than 200 jobs over the next three months, of which more than 100 will be new full-time po­si­tions pri­mar­ily in­volved in man­u­fac­tur­ing and lo­gis­tics. The re­main­ing jobs will be for tem­po­rary contractors.

Com­pany spokesman Steve Tay­lor said Ap­plied is re­spond­ing to a strong re­bound in global chip man­u­fac­tur­ing, which con­tin­ues to grow in strength.

“Hir­ing full-time work­ers is a sign that we have con­fi­dence that this ex­pan­sion trend will last,” Tay­lor said.

Ap­plied, which was stung by de­clin­ing sales and heavy losses in 2009, is see­ing a turn­around for fis­cal 2010, with sales up 76 per­cent in the first six months.

For the lat­est quar­ter, the com­pany’s sales of chip man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment to­taled $1.4 bil­lion, up 440 per­cent from last year.

Austin is the com­pany’s pri­mary cen­ter for chip equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing. Ap­plied has 1,500 full-time work­ers and 750 contractors here. The com­pany had about 2,500 full-time work­ers in Austin at the end of 2007.

As the global eco­nomic slump hit the semi­con­duc­tor in­dus­try, Ap­plied cut jobs and costs in the face of soft de­mand.

“We are plan­ning for a long pe­riod of weak­ness,” CEO Mike Splin­ter said in Fe­bru­ary

Con­tin­ued from B6 2009.

But now, busi­ness is bounc­ing back. Tay­lor said the semi­con­duc­tor in­dus­try is ex­pand­ing to keep pace with a rapid growth in por­ta­ble con­sumer de­vices, a re­bound in per­sonal com­put­ers and in­creas­ing growth in au­to­mo­tive elec­tron­ics.

Part of the chip in­dus­try’s ex­pan­sion is at Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co., the world’s sec­ond­largest chip­maker, which is adding ca­pac­ity both in Austin and South Korea.

Sam­sung has started work on a $3.6 bil­lion ex­pan­sion of its Fab 2 man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in North­east Austin that it ex­pects will mean hir­ing 500 more work­ers. The chip­maker at­tracted 500 ap­pli­cants to a Satur­day job fair look­ing for ex­pe­ri­enced chip-fac­tory tech­ni­cians.

Sam­sung plans to get the sec­ond phase of Fab 2 into pro­duc­tion next year.

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