Google Inc. is closing three engineering offices and cutting 100 recruiters from its work force as the recession dampens hiring at the Internet search company.

"Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring," Laszlo Bock, a Google vice president, wrote in a blog posting late Wednesday announcing the layoffs.

In a separate post, Google said it would close its engineering offices in Austin, Texas, Trondheim, Norway and Lulea, Sweden, a step the company said would affect 70 workers.

"Our strong desire is to keep as many of these 70 engineering employees at Google as possible," wrote Google's vice president for engineering and research, Alan Eustace.

"Our long-term goal is not to trim the number of people we have working on engineering projects or reduce our global presence, but create a smaller number of more effective engineering sites," he added.

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The cuts follow news last week of a government filing from Google showing a significant cutback in temporary employees aimed at trimming costs.

The company acknowledged in November that it would be looking to reduce contract workers while retaining full-time employees. Google hasn't said how many positions it plans to eliminate.

The layoffs announced Wednesday represent only a small portion of Google's global work force — less than 1 percent of the 20,100 total. But the move is a rare blemish on the company's worker-friendly reputation.

As consumers shop less online and advertising budgets shrink, Google's ad revenue has been growing at a slower pace, leading the company to cut back on some of its famous employee perks.

While giving no sign that it will limit research and development or acquisitions, Google has closed some of its free cafeterias. And instead of its customary $1,000 holiday gift, the company handed out $400 cell phones to workers last month.

Google shares fell $10.85, or about 3.6 percent, to $290.12 in morning trading Thursday.