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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Turmoil is the word in tech – at some companies.

The stock market is at record highs, and technology companies IBM, Lenovo and Dell are doing pretty well on the earnings front.

But those three companies, each of which has a major presence in North Carolina, are laying off workers, especially in the United States.

Dell joined IBM and Lenovo inn the layoff parade on Thursday, announcing that it plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce – or more than 8,000 people – over the next year.

IBM and Lenovo are already cutting workers in North Carolina, a hundred here a hundred there at IBM’s campus in Research Triangle Park.

Lenovo, meanwhile, has twice made major cuts among the IBM workers it inherited as part of the acquisition of IBM’s personal computer division in 2005.

Now the layoff spotlight shifts to Dell, which employs more than 1,100 people at its Winston-Salem plant. Known as WS1, the facility that opened in 2005 is the largest manufacturing operation for Dell. PCs and servers are made there.

Just how many people might be affected in the Triad is not yet clear, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Dell is struggling to compete globally in the bloody PC battle, and founder Michael Dell is back running things day to day. So far, WS1 has performed well, and the company seemed well on its way to creating the 1,500 jobs by 2010 required in order to receive all the $300-million plus local and state tax incentives it received to build WS1 in North Carolina.

The Winston-Salem newspaper pointed out that in April a company spokesperson said: “Any changes will not have any impact on the WS1 at all.”

She also said, and I quote:

“Michael was very clear that WS1 is needed in order for Dell to continue to be successful.”

Will pink slips be handed out at WS1? Only time will tell. But as the current tech turmoil shows, no one should really consider their job safe.

Not in the new, world-is-flat economy, and especially if you work in the U.S. at a salary that’s 10 times what someone in India, China or Brazil makes.