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Employment

Headcount: Woe Be Gone

It was a quiet week in Lake Telecom, where the women are strong, the men are children, and the debt ratings are all below average. (For those who've never heard of Garrison Keillor, just forge ahead.)

Indeed, on the employment front, there have been few signs of a break in the telecom winter, despite the temperature outside. Nonetheless, we shall press on. Here's a look at a few of the week's most interesting hirings, firings, and other employment news:

  • File under: "No, we're not surprised." Employees at long-haul DWDM equipment vendor Xtera Communications Inc. have been hit with layoffs yet again. This latest culling, which will be finalized on May 2, will affect another 30 percent of the company. Xtera employs about 120 folks at the moment.

  • Sources close to Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV) say the human resources department there is working overtime preparing packages and paperwork for the next round of cuts. The company had previously offered guidance that its headcount would drop to about 500 by the end of the first fiscal quarter of 2003. A Corvis spokesperson wasn't available to chat before our deadline.

  • The core router market continues to be a drag. Israel's Globes newspaper reported recently that Charlotte’s Web Networks Ltd. has cut 20 more employees, about 30 percent of its staff, thanks to a dormant market. The company's Website says it still employs more than 100 people. An inquiry by Headcount wasn't answered in time for our deadline, but one source close to the company tells us that the startup has curtailed its participation in Supercomm 2003, which is perhaps a sign that it is hunkering down for a while.

  • After some poking 'round, it turns out that plans to revive the old Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) photonics plant in Ipswich, U.K., are still being born, if not already stillborn. Corning, which originally bought the plant from BTexact Technologies, said in January it was shutting the facility down. The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) took up the task of saving the plant.

    The EEDA and BTexact, which owns the site that the plant occupies, are still in the process of cooking up a business plan, according to the EEDA's press officer Chris Lock. That means, of course, that any prospect of those plant employees getting their jobs back has been pushed out 'til who knows when. "All the staff at the Corning Research Center had been laid off, but a core group has now been retained on a consultancy basis," Lock writes to Light Reading's Mary Jander. Blimey.

  • Employment Fun Fact of the Week: The number of employees on payroll in the communications industry -- which includes those working at phone companies and wireless operators in the United States -- dropped about 6 percent to 1.5 million between March 2002 and March 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Euphemism Alert: Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) April 10 press release, apparently written by a robot, contained the headline "Brocade Continues Business Model Optimization." The release, predictabily, detailed a round of layoffs.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days: That's all the bits and pieces for now. If you have a tip for us, write to [email protected] and maybe we'll repay your generosity by sending along a tin of Powdermilk Biscuits.

    Then again, maybe not.

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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    whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 12:11:46 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone Commercial real estate vacancy rates in Silicon Valley are over 60%, based on informal observation of "for lease" signs on roughly that percentage of buildings in several business districts. In one district, the rate is over 70%....mostly new tech buildings. Notably, the older "industrial" buildings are mostly occupied, though pay for jobs in those buildings is MAYBE minimum wage / hourly.

    Commute is easy though...

    -Why
    Fortunecookie 12/5/2012 | 12:11:45 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone The housing prices in SV hasn't dropped yet. Your data does not make much sense to me. If so many companies are out of business, then I have to assume the unemployment rate is high. If so, who can afford those half million houses? (Not the great houses though, but that's the bare minimum in SV).

    I think before the real estate burble burst, SV will never boom again. The high real estate prices drive the cost of SV high, thus make it much less competitive. If the cost of SV is reduced, we might not see a severe derire of outsourcing to India or China.

    Fortune
    ------------------------------------------------
    Commercial real estate vacancy rates in Silicon Valley are over 60%, based on informal observation of "for lease" signs on roughly that percentage of buildings in several business districts. In one district, the rate is over 70%....mostly new tech buildings. Notably, the older "industrial" buildings are mostly occupied, though pay for jobs in those buildings is MAYBE minimum wage / hourly.

    Commute is easy though...

    -Why
    optiplayer 12/5/2012 | 12:11:40 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone In Mass:

    On the 495 belt vacancy rates were just over 30% on average in the 4th quarter. In some towns (Acton, Boxboro and Chelmsford it is over 40%). Rents have dropped by 2/3rds.

    The 128 belt vacancy rate is in the low 20% for the same period.

    These are real #s not estimates based on driving around. The trend shows no sign of changing.

    The residential RE bubble persists here too though the economy is more diverse with lots of biotech and financial/mutual fund firms in the area.
    ThouShaltNotJudge 12/5/2012 | 12:11:39 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone Fortunecookie wrote:

    "The housing prices in SV hasn't dropped yet."

    ---------------------

    Perhaps the cost of real estate ownership has not yet subsided in SV, but by all accounts the rental market has become very affordable. Try living on the East Coast where property values continue to rise above the ridiculous Bay Area market, yet Telecom salaries tend to be considerably lower.

    TSNJ
    Fortunecookie 12/5/2012 | 12:11:39 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone But again, the residential real estate prices have gone up last year in Mass., specially along rt 128 and 495.

    How do you explain this? I don't question your numbers. As a matter of fact, I have the same feeling about commercial real estate situation. How come the residential real estate holds strong?

    Fortune

    ----------------------------------------------

    In Mass:

    On the 495 belt vacancy rates were just over 30% on average in the 4th quarter. In some towns (Acton, Boxboro and Chelmsford it is over 40%). Rents have dropped by 2/3rds.

    The 128 belt vacancy rate is in the low 20% for the same period.

    These are real #s not estimates based on driving around. The trend shows no sign of changing.

    The residential RE bubble persists here too though the economy is more diverse with lots of biotech and financial/mutual fund firms in the area.
    FatherTime 12/5/2012 | 12:11:38 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone RE: 495/128

    Boston is not as diverse as one might expect since Hio-tech, Bio-tech, and Finance are all getting slammed. This creates a local economy very suseptable to market swings. MA leads the nation in job losses and negative population growth due to cost of living. This data is in the paper every Sunday.

    Real Estate is last bastion for investors these days. Therefore, keeping prices steady (or steadier).

    -FT
    Fortunecookie 12/5/2012 | 12:11:38 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone Funny thing, my friends in different places all claim they are the worst in the nation.

    Sure, Boston friends complain,

    NJ friends complain as well. Just think about that Lucent/Agere/Avaya, and tons of communication start-ups going down hill.

    DC friends complain too. They thought they were the worst. Just think about World Com, Global Grossing. Sure I can't argue with them.

    Need I to say SV?

    I have lived in Mass, NJ, and DC. IMHO, Boston is the healthiest among these 4 areas.

    Funny thing is that the real estate prices all hold strong in these 4 areas.

    Fortune
    -----------------------------------------------
    RE: 495/128

    Boston is not as diverse as one might expect since Hio-tech, Bio-tech, and Finance are all getting slammed. This creates a local economy very suseptable to market swings. MA leads the nation in job losses and negative population growth due to cost of living. This data is in the paper every Sunday.

    Real Estate is last bastion for investors these days. Therefore, keeping prices steady (or steadier).

    -FT
    DarkWriting 12/5/2012 | 12:11:35 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone WHAT DOES THE GRAPH OF A DOUBLE DIP RECESSION LOOK LIKE?

    |W W
    | W W
    | W W W
    | W W W W
    | W W W W
    | W W
    -----------------------

    DW
    whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 12:11:35 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone RE prices for high end housing in SV have dropped at least 25%, and the supply has grown to over 1.5 years of demand. OF course, this is for Atherton, Menlo Park, Loa Altos, Saratoga (the "hills"). Working class homes are not dropping at all, and the supply remains at less than three months. Apartment vacancy rates are very high, and rents are very low. I guess this enables tow income families to save enough for a down, especially at low ARM interest rates. We see "extended family" situations: multiple incomes in one house. Which leads to crowded neighborhood streets with all the cars...but that's a minor point. I expect the average house price will slowly begin to driop, as the interest rates are not going any lower (IMO), and something has to give. Maybe oil prices will drop low enough to stimulate the economy, but I doubt it. From the oil companies perspective, that would be leaving money on the table.

    I like observation better than statistics, as the government has a heavy hand on the scale in that area. My eyes do not lie, but I can count on politicians to lie every time.

    As far as unemployment is concerned, the commute traffic volume is half what is was in '98-'99. And the valley population has dropped 30K people. I think unemployment and underemployment is about 25% here.

    If interest rates go up without a good economy, many people will lose their homes back to the banks. We all know that is the next game afoot from the politicians: deficit spending.

    -Why
    lightbeer 12/5/2012 | 12:11:35 AM
    re: Headcount: Woe Be Gone How do you explain this?

    Three words "Low Interest Rates"!

    When they finally go back up that will put the brakes on prices and in some areas might roll them back.
    Page 1 / 29   >   >>
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