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IBM begins U.S. layoffs; global cuts could hit 13,000

Armonk-based International Business Machines Corp. began dismissing U.S.

Armonk-based International Business Machines Corp. began dismissing U.S. workers Thursday, as part of a $1 billion restructuring. Credit: Getty Images / STAN HONDA

International Business Machines Corp. began dismissing U.S. workers Thursday, part of a $1 billion restructuring to help the company meet profit goals as it adapts to shifts in the technology industry.

Workers in New York, Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and North Carolina were laid off Thursday, according to Alliance@ IBM, an employee group. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company had a head count of 431,212 at the end of 2013, down 0.7 percent from a year earlier -- its first decline in a decade.

IBM is aiming for $20 a share in adjusted earnings by 2015, up from $11.67 in 2010 -- a target made more difficult by seven straight quarters of falling revenue. To get there, chief executive Ginni Rometty has laid off and furloughed workers, sold assets, cut IBM's tax rate and bought back shares.

The company has also begun eliminating positions this year in Europe, Asia and South America, according to Alliance@IBM.

Worldwide, this year's job cuts could lead to the elimination of at least 13,000 employees, Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said in a Feb. 3 report.

Rometty is seeking to transform IBM as clients shift to storing their data and applications off-site, or in the cloud, rather than buying their own servers.

"IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients and to pioneer new, high-value segments of the IT industry," the company said in a statement Thursday.

At any given time, IBM has more than 3,000 job openings in its growth units, including its cloud business and nanotechnology, the company said.

IBM had agreed to keep high-technology jobs in New York's Hudson Valley through 2016, increasing the number of positions it has pledged to retain by 750 to 3,100, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said this week in a statement. That would restore the 697 workers fired last year in Dutchess County, where the company had about 8,000 employees as of 2012, according to the county government.

Firings took place yesterday in Endicott and Poughkeepsie, Alliance@IBM said.

IBM makes semiconductor chips at its plant in Burlington, Vt., and servers in Rochester, Minn., according to its website.

The company has a delivery center in Dubuque, Iowa, that was to create as many as 1,300 jobs when it opened in 2009. The facility provides services including outsourcing-client support, server-systems operations, security services, and maintenance of hardware and software, according to the website.

IBM dismissed workers in all three cities, in addition to Columbia, Mo.; Tulsa, Okla., and the Raleigh, N.C., area, Alliance@IBM said.


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