9% of National Instruments staff to be laid off, Austin-based company announces


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin-based National Instruments announced Thursday it will reduce its worldwide staff by 9%, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy.

In a letter to staff, President and CEO Eric Starkloff called the decision “hard and necessary” and outlined a series of next steps, including quickly notifying those who will be out of a job by Nov. 6 at the latest, except for those living in countries that require additional legal requirements to be met.

National Instruments was founded in 1976 in Austin, and produces automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software used by engineers around the world.

Starkloff also said those who are let go will be compensated through the end of 2020, including receive severance and a supplemental payout. The company is also offering an early retirement program for eligible employees who remain.

“My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful, compassionate, and transparent way possible — out of respect to those impacted as well as those staying to lead us into the future,” Starkloff wrote.

National Instruments did not specify how many jobs this would affect, nor how many of those are in the Austin area. Starkloff did say in a call Thursday while presenting the company’s third-quarter earnings that most of that staff reduction would come from the Selling, General and Administrative Expenses area.

In the call, National Instruments officials said it had made $308 million in revenue in Q3. That is down 9% year-over-year, but an increase of 2% since the last quarter.

“We delivered third-quarter revenue above the midpoint of guidance despite the current economic environment. While we have seen positive signs in our business, we remain cautious to the uncertainty that lies ahead,” said Karen Rapp, NI CFO, in a release about the earnings report. “We remain committed to the execution of our growth and profitability strategy in pursuit of our long-term financial targets. We believe our strong balance sheet and cash position provide us the capability to keep our capital allocation priorities unchanged as we stay committed to shareholder value.”

Last December the company announced it would lay off 150 of its 8,000 employees worldwide due to changes in investments and business goals.

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