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Tech layoffs are already on pace to surpass last year after another brutal week
Job cuts to start 2024 are higher and more concentrated than tech layoffs in the past two years
By Laura Bratton, Quartz Media
Jan 26, 2024
Last year’s tech layoffs were bad, but this year’s could be even worse if companies continue cutting jobs at their current rate.
This week alone, layoffs more than doubled to nearly 24,000. More than 10,000 tech workers across the globe lost their jobs on Tuesday. Then came the additional 1,900 cuts at Microsoft’s gaming division. While analysts have said tech layoffs should be “smaller and more targeted” this year, with companies shifting investments to generative AI, the job cuts in January are already higher than monthly averages in the last two years, according to data from the website layoffs.fyi, which tracks layoffs.
To be sure, companies could also simply be taking swift action at the start of the year to make cuts before continuing business as usual. But that doesn’t seem likely, with tech giants Google and Amazon indicating that layoffs at those companies will continue.
AI means bye bye workers
Many of the cuts come just as companies strengthen their positions in the AI space. Google, Amazon, Dataminr, and Spotify, for example, slashed staff roles while simultaneously focusing on, even celebrating, enhancements to their AI features.
“The juxtaposition of celebrating advanced AI-driven features while simultaneously reducing the human workforce raises critical questions about the impact of AI and automation on jobs,” wrote Neil C. Hughes of Techopedia in his forecast for 2024 tech jobs.
The pains aren’t just bigger, but deeper
Tech layoffs in 2024 have also been more concentrated so far than in the past two years. The nearly 24,000 job cuts have happened at just 82 companies. In 2023, however, about 99 companies on average cut jobs every month. That means the pains of layoffs were more spread out, with fewer monthly role eliminations distributed across more companies.