Today: Symantec begins its planned layoffs, adding to earlier job cuts, but tech industry is expected to remain a net positive in Bay Area's economic comeback. Also: Wall Street bounces back.
The lead: Symantec's layoffs add to Zynga's and NetApp's, but job market still looks strong
Security-software company Symantec's planned layoffs seem to be beginning, making the Mountain View company the third SV150 company to announce job cuts in less than a month. Job growth and projections show that Silicon Valley's job market and overall economy should be growing enough to withstand the hit, however.
Symantec CEO announced in January that the company would be laying off workers with a focus on "fewer executives and middle management positions." Thursday morning, AllThingsD reporter Arik Hessendahl wrote that the total number of layoffs would reach as high as 1,700 and begin as early as Thursday.
A Symantec representative told the Mercury News that the number floated by AllThingsD was "pure speculation," but acknowledged that "Symantec is in the midst of a companywide transformation. As part of this effort, we are engaged in a companywide reorganization. As a result, some positions are being eliminated."
San Francisco social-gaming company Zynga and Sunnyvale data-storage company NetApp have also announced layoffs in the past month, totaling slightly more than 1,400 jobs lost.
Still, the latest projections from the UCLA Anderson Forecast show that Silicon Valley should continue to add jobs in total, as one of the strongest regions in the United States in terms of the labor market.
"The Bay Area is leading the state, and the state is leading the nation in terms of its recovery," Jerry Nickelsburg, a senior economist with the Anderson Forecast, said earlier this month.
The latest monthly job totals, for April, showed a loss for the South Bay, but the tech sector was not the issue: Out of a total of 1,800 jobs lost, health care lost 800 jobs, arts and entertainment shed 500 jobs and government agencies lost 400 jobs, a Beacon Economics analysis of Economic Development Department data showed. In the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin region, the tech sector added 800 jobs in April as part of an overall gain of 2,800 jobs.
"The tech rebound remains firmly in place," Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific, said after the state's employment report was released last month.
Overall, the Bay Area has recovered about 80 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, putting the region far ahead of most of the rest of the country in recovering from the depths of the economic crisis.
Still, those who are losing their jobs in these recent rounds of layoffs could face difficulty in finding work.
"The economy in the United States is not growing strongly enough to provide jobs for all the people who were laid off," Edward Leamer, director of the Anderson Forecast, said earlier this month. "If you have a job, you are in good shape. If you don't have a job, you are in bad shape."
Symantec stock gained 1.4 percent on the day to close at $22.49.
SV150 market report: Rebound for Wall Street helps Apple and Google recover
After three straight days of losses to kick off the week, stocks bounced back Thursday: All three major U.S. indexes gained more than 1 percent, and the SV150 joined in with a 1.3 percent boost.
Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) helped indexes by reversing their struggles. Apple gained 0.9 percent to $435.96 after Reuters reported that the company is considering offering larger iPhones -- so-called phablets -- as well as cheaper models in a variety of colors within the next year. Google, which is expected to control more than half the mobile-advertising business in the United States as it sees more people accessing their smartphones in brick-and-mortar retail, moved 0.6 percent higher to $877.
The chip sector was a beneficiary of Thursday's gains: Intel (INTC) increased 2.2 percent to $24.99, Nvidia gained 2.3 percent to $14.37, Applied Materials advanced 2.3 percent to $15.60, and Advanced Micro Devices moved 1.3 percent higher to $3.95.
Some Silicon Valley companies missed Thursday's wave, however. Facebook continued to struggle, dropping 0.2 percent to $23.73 while killing off a department focused on search advertising, and Sunnyvale's Ruckus Wireless hit its lowest price since debuting in November before closing with a 5.8 percent drop at $10.68.
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 15.83, or 1.27 percent, to 1,260.82
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 44.94, or 1.32 percent, to 3,445.37
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 180.85, or 1.21 percent, to 15,176.08
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 23.84, or 1.48 percent, to 1,636.36
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/mercbizbreak.