Layoffs have nearly quintupled so far this year, with tech companies leading the way


Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. Alphabet Inc. is expected to release earnings numbers on Feb. 2.

Marlena Sloss | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Companies announced nearly 90,000 layoffs in March, a sharp increase from the previous month and a giant acceleration from a year ago, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Thursday.

Planned layoffs totaled 89,703 for the period, a 15% increase from February. Year-to-date, job cuts have soared to 270,416, a 396% increase from the same period a year ago.

The damage has been particularly severe in technology, which has announced 102,391 cuts so far in 2023. That’s a staggering 38,487% increase from a year ago and good for 38% of all cuts of staff. Technology has already shrunk 5% more than all of 2022, according to the report, and is on course to eclipse 2001, the worst year on record amid the dotcom meltdown.

“We know businesses are approaching 2023 with caution, even as the economy continues to create jobs,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “With continued rate hikes and cost containment by companies, the large-scale layoffs we are seeing are likely to continue.”

In other jobs news Thursday, weekly jobless claims totaled 228,000 for the week ended April 1, above the Dow Jones estimate of 200,000, the Labor Department reported. Continuing claims rose to 1.823 million, the highest since December 2021.

Financial companies announced the second-highest rate of cuts this year, with 30,635 layoffs representing a 419% increase from the first quarter of 2022. Health care and retail came next.

Meanwhile, expected hirings fell in March, totaling just 9,044, the worst for the month since 2015. Year-to-date, expected hirings are at the lowest quarterly total since 2016.

The main reason cited for job cuts was market and economic conditions, with cost cutting being the second most cited reason.

The Challenger report comes a day before the Labor Department’s nonfarm payroll tally. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect job growth of 238,000 for March, which would be the smallest increase since January 2020.

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