Mon, Dec 08, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Slump in exports fueling rise in layoffs

By Hong Yo-fang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The slump in exports has forced the high-tech sector to accelerate layoffs, with 74 companies at Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) sacking 514 employees last month, statistics released by the park administration showed.

More than 20 percent of employers cut jobs last month among some 400 companies at the science park, where jobs vanished at their fastest monthly pace in nearly seven years.

The administration said it had rarely seen publicly listed companies at the park carry out massive layoffs, except in 2001, when the sector was also hit by a slowdown.

Since June the number of companies reporting job cuts has risen, the administration said.

Compared with 1,446 job cuts last year, layoffs in the science park had surged to 2,477 in 11 months to date, with half of the losses in the last three months.

The number of sackings increased significantly last month over the previous two months. Around 48 companies laid off 412 employees in September and 49 companies cut 284 staff in October.

Many high-tech companies have revised downward their original forecasts for fourth-quarter results, saying they expected this month’s revenues to drop, while operations in the first half of next year are not likely to see a turnaround either. Some companies are reportedly planning to further trim their workforce to weather the weak demand. The relatively high layoff rate is expected to continue through the Lunar New Year.

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