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As tech layoffs continue, experts chime in on what this means for industry, job market

Meta Layoffs
Posted at 1:55 PM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 16:58:31-05

Amazon, Meta, Snap, Zillow.

All of these tech companies have something in common. They’ve laid off hundreds, if not thousands, of employees in recent months.

Meta let go of 11,000 people earlier this month, about 13 percent of its staff.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a letter to Meta employees on November 9:

“At the start of Covid, the world rapidly moved online and the surge of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth. Many people predicted this would be a permanent acceleration that would continue even after the pandemic ended. I did too, so I made the decision to significantly increase our investments. Unfortunately, this did not play out the way I expected. Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected. I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”

“A lot of the layoffs that we’re seeing are really kind of companies correcting for the mistakes they’ve made in the transition out of the pandemic,” said Connel Fullenkamp, an economics professor at Duke University.

It’s not just these popular tech giants. So far in November, more than 42,300 tech employees have reportedly been laid off by approximately 120 companies, according to data compiled by layoffs.fyi, a website that has tracked tech layoffs since the pandemic using public records.

So what does this mean for other industries? Experts say what’s happening in tech, won’t necessarily happen in other spaces.

“You see a headline number that sounds like a lot of layoffs, but we have to remember the backdrop that we’re still well over a million unfilled jobs out in the general labor market,” said Fullenkamp. “There’s a lot of activity in the tech sector that we don't necessarily see on a daily basis that aren’t household names, that are going to be still active and still hiring.”

But we could see a bigger impact down the line with the economic downturn.

“We’re also seeing people cutting back their spending, being more careful about what they’re buying,” he said.