Economic data released on Wednesday shed light on the current state of the labor market. Reports from ADP and the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed robust hiring at the beginning of the year. However, the BLS also reported that layoffs surged and job openings declined in January. These signs of a cool-off are concerning and indicate that the labor market may be losing momentum.
Layoff reports coming in
This week, there were several layoffs reported across different sectors. LinkedIn members reported layoffs at payroll and workforce management provider UKG. Additionally, fitness company Zwift has let go of about 80 people, which represents 15% of its workforce. Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive confirmed layoffs but did not provide details on the number of employees affected.
Atlassian, the business-software maker behind Trello and Jira, announced that it would be letting go of 500 full-time employees, which represents 5% of its workforce. The company stated that these cuts were not financially driven but instead reflect a shift in focus. In addition, Sirius XM, which provides satellite radio subscriptions, announced layoffs of 8% of its headcount, which amounts to 475 people. The company is feeling the slowdown in car sales, as subscriptions to its service are often included with new vehicles.
Embark Trucks, which specializes in autonomous trucking, is laying off 70% of its staff and closing two offices. The company stated that the remaining 30% would focus on winding down operations. Education streaming platform MasterClass reportedly let go of 79 people, following a round of job cuts in June 2022.
Airbnb, which had its first profitable year in 2022, laid off 30% of its recruiting staff, which represents 0.4% of its total headcount of 6,800. In addition, UserTesting, which merged with Bay Area startup UserZoom, cut 63 jobs. Cybersecurity tool provider Zscaler announced a restructuring that would cut 3% of its 5,900 employees, or 177 jobs.
There were also reports of layoffs at Truckstop, Orchard Homes, The Topps Company, Abnormal Security, Celonis, and Rightpoint, according to LinkedIn members. Citigroup reportedly laid off hundreds of staffers across its investment banking, operations, IT, and mortgage teams. The cuts affect less than 1% of Citi's staff of 240,000.
Qurate, which owns QVC and HSN, let go of 400 people employed by the television-shopping networks. A dozen people, including longtime staffers, were let go from CNET. New leadership at Bridgewater reportedly intends to cut 100 jobs as part of a hedge fund-wide reorganization. Aviation company Wheels Up announced plans to save $30 million via cost-cutting efforts and layoffs, though the number of jobs lost has not been disclosed.
Chemicals giant BASF planned to reduce its workforce by 2,600 people, mostly in Europe, but LinkedIn posts suggest that US workers are also affected by the cuts. Note-taking app Evernote is losing 129 employees to layoffs two months after being acquired by Bending Spoons. Yellow.ai conducted its second round of layoffs in six months, leaving the conversational startup 15% smaller than it was six months ago.
Sonder, which had a valuation of $2 billion, let go of 100 people, or 14% of its headcount. The short-term rentals startup had previously laid off 21% of its corporate staff and 7% of its frontline staff in June 2022. Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car subsidiary, laid off 137 employees in its second round of job cuts this year, bringing its personnel losses to 209 or 8% of workforce.
Another notable company that had job cuts was Eventbrite, which creates software for event management. Despite the CEO's assertion that live events are "recession-proof," the company is implementing a workforce reduction of 8% and relocating 30% of roles to Spain and India. Meanwhile, General Motors is reportedly eliminating 500 executive-level and salaried positions, even though the CFO said no layoffs were planned as recently as January.
In the tech industry, Chicago-based tech consultancy ThoughtWorks confirmed to TechCrunch that it has laid off 500 workers, or about 4% of its workforce. Everyday Robots, a subsidiary of Google's parent company, was also shut down, and it's not known how many of the unit's 200-plus staff members were laid off.
Electronic Arts (EA) layoffs
In the gaming industry, Electronic Arts is said to have let go of more than 200 quality testers in its Baton Rouge, Louisiana office. Meanwhile, the farm tech startup Indigo Ag eliminated 150 jobs in Memphis, Boston, and North Carolina.
Finally, in the manufacturing industry, layoffs at Micron were much larger than anticipated. The chipmaker and Idaho's largest for-profit employer is cutting 15% of its 49,000-person workforce – more than 7,200 people – after previously saying 10%.
In conclusion, while the labor market has shown robust hiring at the start of the year, there are signs of a cool-off. Layoffs have surged, and job openings have declined. The latest job cuts from various industries, including the technology, gaming, and manufacturing sectors, highlight the ongoing challenges companies face in maintaining profitability in today's competitive landscape.
Technomancer is a science and tech enthusiast who enjoys writing about software and AI and other tech topics.