Contract electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc. on Thursday said first-quarter earnings fell over 80 percent, as orders from computer and telecommunications companies stalled, and it sees a delayed rebound because of further economic weakness. 

To combat the continuing downturn, Jabil said it may cut its work force and will take a one-time charge in its fiscal second quarter of $10 million to $15 million. 

Jabil said net income for the fiscal first quarter ended Nov. 30 fell to $8.4 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, from $47.7 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Excluding the amortization of goodwill and other charges, the company posted operating earnings of $22.1 million, or 11 cents per share, down from $48.3 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier. 

The average estimate of 25 brokers surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call was for earnings excluding goodwill amortization of 12 cents per share, with a range of 11 cents to 13 cents per share. 

Revenues fell more than 21 percent to $884.6 million, from $1.13 billion a year before. Analysts had forecast revenue of about $919.7 million, according to First Call 

Jabil shares closed Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange at $24.75, down $1.93, or more than 7 percent. Shares of Jabil and others in the sector have been pressured in recent days after Solectron Corp., the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, reported a large quarterly loss and its debt ratings were cut to junk status. 

The sector has been battered by the pullback in corporate capital spending, which has forced cutbacks in orders from the computer, networking and telecommunications companies that provide the bulk of business for the companies. 

Jabil said the economic environment has deteriorated since its previous business update in September and the St. Petersburg, Florida, company now expects a slower recovery of its business due to the recessionary economy. 

Jabil now does not expect a resumption of sequential growth until the third and fourth quarters. Wall Street had been looking for a return to growth on a quarter-by-quarter basis during the current second quarter. 

The company expects second-quarter revenue of $800 million to $850 million and cash earnings per share, excluding charges and goodwill amortization costs, of 6 to 8 cents per share. 

Analysts had been looking for cash earnings of 11 cents to 16 cents per share in the second quarter, with a mean forecast of 14 cents, according to First Call. Wall Street had been forecasting revenue of about $974 million. 

For the fiscal year ending in August 2002, the company said it expects revenue of $3.5 billion to $4.0 billion, with cash earnings of 50 to 60 cents per share. 

Analysts were looking for fiscal 2002 revenue of about $4.36 billion and cash earnings of 69 cents per share amid a forecasted range of 55 cents to 80 cents per share, according to First Call. 

Additional details were not immediately available on the job cuts and charges.