This week Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Microsoft (MSFT) and Vox Media announced layoffs affects more than 22,000 workers.
Their move follows the job cuts earlier this month at Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Salesforce. More companies are expected to do the same as companies that have been aggressively hiring over the past two years, slamming the brakes and, in many cases, shifting backwards.
The cuts are in stark contrast to 2022, which saw the second-highest job loss on record at 4.5 million. But last year’s job count began to fall as the year progressed, with December’s jobs report showing the lowest monthly gains in two years.
The highest number of recruitments occurred in 2021, when 6.7 million jobs were added. But that came just after the first year of the pandemic, when the US was effectively shut down and 9.3 million jobs lost.
The current layoffs are across multiple industries, from media companies to Wall Street, but so far Big Tech has been hitting particularly hard.
That contrasts with job losses during the pandemic, as consumer purchasing behavior shifted to e-commerce and other online services during the lockdown. Tech companies started looking for new people.
But now employees are returning to their offices and in-person shopping is picking up again. Add to that the growing likelihood of a recession, higher interest rates and lukewarm demand due to rising prices, and technology companies are cutting costs.
January is full of headlines announcing job losses in company after company. Here’s a list of layoffs this month – until now.
Google’s parent company (GOOGL) said on Friday it was laying off 12,000 employees in product areas and regions, or 6% of its workforce. Alphabet added 50,000 employees in the past two years as the pandemic increased demand for its services. But recent recession fears are causing advertisers to pull away from their core digital advertising businesses.
“Over the past two years, we have experienced periods of dramatic growth,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees. “To match and drive that growth, we hired people for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”
The tech giant is laying off 10,000 employees, the company said in a securities filing on Wednesday. Worldwide, Microsoft has 221,000 full-time employees, of which 122,000 are in the US.
CEO Satya Nadella said during a speech in Davos that “no one can defy gravity” and that Microsoft could not ignore the weaker global economy.
“We live in times of profound change, and as I meet with clients and partners, a few things are clear,” Nadella wrote in a memo. “First, as we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we now see them optimizing their digital spend to do more with less.”
The publisher of news and opinion website Vox, tech website The Verge and New York Magazine announced Friday that it will cut 7% of its workforce, or about 130 people.
“We are experiencing and anticipating more of the same economic and financial pressures that others in the media and technology industries have faced,” CEO Jim Bankoff said in a memo.
Layoffs are also hitting Wall Street hard. The world’s largest asset manager is cutting 500 jobs, or less than 3% of its workforce.
Today’s “unprecedented market environment” is in stark contrast to the attitude of the past three years, when the workforce increased by about 22%. The last major round of cuts was in 2019.
The bank will lay off up to 3,200 employees this month amid a slump in global dealmaking activity. More than a third of the cuts are expected to come from the company’s trading and banking divisions. Goldman Sachs (FADXX) had nearly 50,000 employees at the end of the third quarter of last year.
The crypto brokerage announced in early January that it will be cutting 950 people — nearly one in five employees in its workforce. The move comes just a few months after Coinbase laid off 1,100 people.
While Bitcoin had a solid start to the new year, crypto companies were hit by significant price drops in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
McDonald’s (MCD), which has thrived during the pandemic, plans to cut some of its staff, CEO Chris Kempczinski said this month.
“We will be reviewing roles and staffing levels in parts of the organization and there will be tough discussions and decisions ahead,” Kempszinski said, outlining a plan to “break down internal barriers, become more innovative and reduce mismatched work with the company’s priorities.”
The online clothing retailer with personalized subscriptions said it plans to lay off 20% of its paid staff.
“We will be losing many talented team members from across the company and I am truly sorry,” founder and former CEO of Stitch Fix (SFIX), Katrina Lake, wrote in a blog post.
At the start of the new year, Amazon (AMZN) said it plans to lay off more than 18,000 employees. Departments from human resources to that of the company Amazon (AMZN) Stores will be affected.
“Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They are not in expansion mode for heavy people every year,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a memo to employees.
Amazon has thrived during the pandemic and has been hiring quickly in recent years. But demand has declined as consumers return to their offline lives and battle high prices. Amazon says it has more than 800,000 employees.
Speaking at The New York Times DealBook Summit in November, Jassy said he believes Amazon “made the right decision” regarding its rapid infrastructure buildout, but said the hiring wave is a “lesson for everyone.”
As he spoke, Amazon warehouse workers, who helped organize the company’s first-ever U.S. union in a Staten Island facility last year, were pecking at Jassy’s performance outside the conference venue.
“We certainly want to take this opportunity to let him know that the workers are waiting and that we are ready to negotiate our first contract,” Amazon Labor Union chairman Chris Smalls said, calling the protest a “welcoming party” for Jassy.
Salesforce (CRM) will cut approximately 10% of its more than 70,000 workforce and reduce its real estate footprint. In a letter to employees, Salesforce (CRM) Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff admitted that he added too much to the company’s workforce too early at the pandemic.
– CNN’s Clare Duffy, Matt Egan, Oliver Darcy, Julia Horowitz, Catherine Thorbecke, Paul R. La Monica, Nathaniel Meyersohn, Parija Kavilanz, Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Hanna Ziady contributed to this report.