It's January again, and if you work for Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT), you know what that means: Time for another round of layoffs.

The semiconductor equipment maker announced on Tuesday that it will lay off 1,000 employees -- 7% of its global workforce. In the short term, this will cost the firm $20 million in "one-time" charges to earnings (ironically, to be taken over the course of all four quarters of fiscal 2008.) But longer term, Applied Materials says its leaner, meaner cost structure will save the company as much as $150 million per year thereafter.

Nice. (And remind me to copyright the term: "Return on divested capital.")

Management characterizes its move as an effort to cut costs and capitalize on "synergies." But a Fool can't help but notice that, despite the sunny face Applied put on the news, Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) forecast yesterday (but not AMD's (NYSE: AMD) comments last month) suggests we could be heading into a pretty rough year for the chip industry. In other words, Applied Materials' cost-cutting move could be just what's needed to weather the storm.

Forecast shmorecast. How did Intel actually do last quarter? Find out in:

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.