Data storage firm Xyratex International Inc. will lay off 320 people at its West Sacramento manufacturing plant by year's end as the company moves more of its operation to Mexico, a company executive said Friday.
The employees are a mix of full-time and contract manufacturing and assembly workers, said Brad Driver, a Xyratex vice president. A cadre of corporate officers and staff will stay in West Sacramento, he said.
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon called the news "a tragic outcome for employees at our location," adding later that "300 jobs is a lot of jobs. That is a lot of individuals and families affected by that downsizing. It's a significant impact."
Cabaldon said many of the Xyratex employees live in West Sacramento and Yolo County, where unemployment continues to linger at 12.1 percent, the region's highest.
He said city staff and Yolo County's rapid response team were meeting with employees to explain unemployment benefits, offer résumé training and connect workers with county and state resources.
A rapid response team was at Xyratex's Embarcadero Drive facility Friday, said officials at the county's Employment and Social Services Department.
Driver said costs played a role in the move to Guadalajara, Mexico, but the decision primarily was the result of the loss of major client NetApp.
NetApp has been a Xyratex client since 2000, but orders from the Sunnyvale-based data management firm diminished steadily over the last five years as NetApp looked to other suppliers, Driver said. Today, many of Xyratex's clients also operate out of Mexico.
"Obviously, it's a little cheaper" to move to Mexico, Driver said. "But, it's more driven by business needs."
Xyratex's presence in West Sacramento, along with other tech firms, had been cited in recent years as an example of West Sacramento's economy expanding beyond its roots as a freight hub.
But signs of Xyratex's struggles had been evident for some time as its NetApp contracts continued to shrink. Layoffs in 2009 were followed by two announced rounds of downsizing last year, according to state Employment Development Department records.
"This is part of a larger reduction at the company," Cabaldon said of the layoffs. "There have been many challenges over the years for the company."
Xyratex's Guadalajara plant has been open for roughly 18 months, Driver said. The facility handles testing, integration and after-sales support in Mexico and Latin America markets, according to information on its website.
Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.