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Yahoo lays off area workers

Internet company’s elimination of jobs across the state includes 111 at its Burbank headquarters.

February 16, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — More than 100 jobs will be cut from Yahoo’s Burbank campus, less than a week after the Internet giant rejected a $44.6-billion bid from Microsoft to acquire the company, a state agency said Friday.

In an apparent move to cut costs, Yahoo is laying off 492 California employees, including 111 at its Burbank headquarters, 236 in Sunnyvale, 91 in Santa Clara and 52 in Santa Monica, according to a notice the company was legally mandated to file with the Employment Development Department.

The majority of Yahoo’s layoffs are expected to occur between April 12 and 30, with some employees staying on longer due to the nature of their specific job, the filing notice said.

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Though some shrugged off the news in Burbank, others were less than enthused.

“This isn’t good news,” City Manager Mary Alvord said. “It’s certainly not a good indication for the economy.”

Yahoo representatives could not be reached for comment.

The news comes almost a week after the Writers Guild of America voted to end its 100-day strike, which reportedly cost Los Angeles more than $2 billion, and more than a month after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a $14.5-billion state budget gap that could affect local agencies that depend on state funds.

While officials are ruing the loss of jobs at Burbank’s sixth-largest employer, the city’s conservative budget proposals should shelter the local economy against the mass layoffs, Alvord said.

But Alvord wasn’t prepared for Yahoo’s announcement.

“It did catch me a bit by surprise,” she said. “We had heard discussion of the buyout, but we had not heard that layoffs were imminent. I guess you never know.”

Despite the lingering effects of the writers strike and the hole in the state budget, the Yahoo layoffs might not have a significant impact on Burbank’s economy, said Burbank Chamber of Commerce President Gary Olson.

“A lot of [Yahoo’s] employees in Burbank don’t reside here, so there will be no huge impacts on restaurants or business,” he said. “You have to put everything in context. This is a normal adjustment in accordance with business practices.”

Yahoo Search Marketing opened in Burbank in November 2006 and employed 1,800 people, according to the city’s corporate profile of the company. The local division of the company provides search products and services to advertisers.

The notice filed by the company with the Employment Development Department also gives the state time to train and counsel laid-off workers, said Patrick Joyce, an agency spokesman.

“A company has to file a notice within 30 days when they have mass layoffs, which is 50 or more workers,” he said. “It gives employees a warning that there will be layoffs, and we will send out people to the site to counsel workers, giving them job training possibilities and information on how to apply for jobs.”

The employment department has not sent counselors to Yahoo’s Burbank site, but it might next week, Joyce said.


 JEREMY OBERSTEIN covers City Hall and public safety. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at jeremy.oberstein@ latimes.com.

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