Bloodbath: over 100,000 tech workers were laid off in Q1

Steven Loeb · April 7, 2023 · Short URL:

Layoffs jumped 38,487% from the same quarter last year, and have already exceeded 2022's total

By most indications, the economy seems to be doing well right now: data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday showed that 236,000 jobs were added in March, and that the unemployment rate is now 3.5%.

If you're in the tech sector, though, things are not quite so rosy as numerous companies have been cutting their staff since the beginning of the year. How bad has it been? A new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. is showing just how deep those cuts were and they are deep.

In all, tech companies announced 102,391 cuts so far this year, which is up a staggering 38,487% from the mere 267 cuts the sector announced in same quarter last year. Not only that but in just the first three months the number of layoffs have already exceeded 2022's total, which stood at 97,171, by 5%.

The only years during which the tech sector has announced more job cuts than it has this year were when the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s: in 2001 there 168,395 cuts in and 2002 there 131,294 jobs lost. Tech is already fast approaching both of these numbers in 2023, and it's only April. 

Among the tech companies that cut jobs last year including Meta, which laid off 11,000 workers; Lyft cut its staff by 13%; Twitter fired half its staff; Salesforce laid off hundreds; and Snap let more than 1,200 go. 

Many of those companies have continued their cuts in 2023, including Meta, which recently let another 10,000 workers go, while Twitter fired another 10% of its staff in February. Alphabet laid off 6% of its global workforce, or around 12,000 employees, and Microsoft cut 10,000 jobs, or 5% of its workforce, both in January. To put it in even greater perspective, the second-most job cuts this year came from financial companies with 30,635, less than a third of the cuts in the tech sector.

Overall, the quarter saw 270,416 job cuts, a 396% increase from 55,696 cuts in Q1 of 2022. That makes it the highest quarterly total since the third quarter of 2020, when 497,215 cuts were recorded.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the top reason given for cutting jobs were market/economic conditions, followed by cost-cutting, then store, unit, or department closings, financial loss, restructuring, and demand downturn.

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