HP layoffs likely to hit Arkansas

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 166 views 

The announcement that tech giant Hewlett-Packard will lay off 27,000 workers worldwide sent reverberations through Arkansas economic circles, particularly in Conway where the company opened a 1,000 employee, $28 million state-of-the-art service center in 2010.

A spokesman for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company tells Talk Business that “just about every business and region” will be impacted by the downsizing.

On Tuesday, H-P said it would cut the 27,000 jobs — nearly 8% of its workforce — by October 2014. The workforce reduction would come through a combination of early retirement offerings and a restructuring of its business divisions.

CEO Meg Whitman told analysts that she wants to use the projected $3.5 billion in annual savings to cut corporate bureaucracy, better serve customers, tap into cloud computing and data storage markets, and boost research and development activity.

Multiple Arkansas sources tell Talk Business that, for now, the Conway facility should not be immediately impacted by the Hewlett-Packard cuts.

The Conway tech facility offers customer service support for home, business and enterprise clients. It also houses sales representatives serving large corporate accounts.

Part of the attraction of Conway is the conglomeration of regional higher education institutions offering initial job opportunities to younger workers. With the emphasis of H-P’s cutbacks involving employees closer to retirement and business divisions in need of restructuring, the impact could be minimal.

But some impact will be felt, a Hewlett-Packard spokesman tells Talk Business.

“We have not yet announced specific plans with regards to specific locations,” said H-P spokesman Michael Thacker. “We do expect the workforce reduction to impact just about every business and region. Beyond this, we unfortunately don’t have any additional information to share at the moment.”