SAN FRANCISCO — Semiconductor maker Intel Corp. said Tuesday that it plans to spend $7 billion over the next two years to build advanced manufacturing facilities in the U.S., a major capital investment at a time of uncertainty in the chip industry.
The announcement comes just a few weeks after Intel announced that it was closing five facilities worldwide, and mounting concerns of declining demand in the industry. The move could also be good news for makers of chip manufacturing tools, which have been reeling from a dramatic drop in demand in the semiconductor industry.
Intel’s (INTC) plans signal the chip giant’s advance to a 32 nanometer manufacturing process, which was designed to build faster, smaller chips that consume less energy. The chip giant will invest in existing manufacturing sites in Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico. It will support about 7,000 high-wage, high-skill jobs at those locations, part of the company’s total U.S. workforce of more than 45,000.
The plan is a good sign for the economy, as corporations are not completely abandoning spending on capital equipment goods, the kind of tools businesses invest in order to expand or update their productive capacity. It puts all kinds of pressure on archrival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which has struggled to keep up with its competitor’s advances in production technology.