Cray Says Layoffs Make Room for Future Hires, Headcount to Stay Roughly Flat by Year’s End

3/23/11Follow @curtwoodward

Seattle supercomputing company Cray (NASDAQ: CRAY) is cutting about 50 jobs as it reconfigures its employee mix, according to a regulatory filing. The company didn’t specify what types of jobs were being cut, or say where they were located, other than to indicate the losses aren’t concentrated in any particular place or category.

Cray’s headquarters are in Seattle and its two other major domestic facilities are in St. Paul, MN, and Chippewa Falls, WI. Cray said the layoffs would be “substantially offset” by future additions in key areas including software development and custom engineering. Cray said those hiring plans mean its overall headcount will stay roughly flat this year. It looks like the news was first reported locally by The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley.

Spokesman Nick Davis says Cray had about 885 employees total at the end of 2010. The company’s job-posting site shows four jobs currently open in Seattle: director of compensation and benefits, financial analyst, senior product marketing manager and a software developer.

“We need to hire a significant number of employees in critical areas of the company to deliver on our growth plan, and we couldn’t do the hiring we need on top of our current cost structure,” Davis says. “This is a very difficult decision for us. We are working very hard to provide the support for those people who are directly impacted.”

Cray, a historic giant of the computing business, was on our radar screen quite a few times in 2010 as it continued to rack up large contracts worldwide. That included about $60 million from the University of Stuttgart, a $25 million partnership with Nvidia for DARPA projects, and $47 million from the Department of Energy.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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