Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

will ask certain employees to voluntarily quit their jobs as part of a continuing cost-cutting plan, which has been made necessary by the reduced capital equipment spending by semiconductor makers.

Under the company's "voluntary separation plan," 1,000 employees will be offered separation pay and a benefits package to give up their jobs. The majority of the workers who will be offered the package are in the company's Santa Clara, Calif., and Austin, Texas, locations.

The company, which makes semiconductor equipment for chip manufacturers, said that despite a number of cost-lowering initiatives started in late January, the economic slowdown requires additional action.

Shares of Applied Materials were unchanged at $48.25 in recent


trading. In mid-February the company checked in with

first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates by 4 cents a share, but offered a dim outlook for the second quarter.

A spokesman for the company said the goal of the program is to reduce the workforce by 1,000 people, but he was unsure of Applied's next step if the number of employees that actually leave falls short of that figure. "We don't know how many will accept the offer," he said. "Since it's voluntary, we'll wait and see what happens. The majority of the program should be completed by the end of this quarter, which ends April 29."