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Even TikTok laying off workers? WTF!

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Google, Amazon, TikTok, and more: 2024 starts with thousands of tech layoffs

Technology firms are still feeling a comedown from the 2021 hiring spree. Check out our timeline of the cuts so far

By Laura Bratton and Michelle Cheng, Quartz Media

Jan 24, 2024

There have been more than 7,500 layoffs in the tech industry in just the first few weeks of 2024, squashing hopes for an end to last year’s doom and gloom in the sector.

Technology firms are still feeling a comedown from the sector’s 2021 boom, when the companies were hiring left and right. Meanwhile, industry giants such as Meta, Microsoft, and Google are no longer seen as the gold star employers they once were, with layoffs hampering workers’ morale.

Already in January, Google said it’s cutting a few hundred jobs from its advertising sales team, and Apple reportedly said it’s shutting down a 121-person team that works on AI features in San Diego, giving employees an ultimatum to relocate or face layoffs.

Google’s CEO reportedly said in a memo to employees last week that more layoffs are ahead, just hours after an announcement that the company was slashing 100 jobs at YouTube.

And TikTok this week laid off 60 employees.

Why are tech layoffs happening?

The most recent job cuts are similar to the ones made by big tech companies like Google and Meta in late 2022 and 2023, though in smaller numbers. Tech layoffs may be happening in part due to companies shifting their priorities, as many have gone all-in on generative AI.

“With any kind of rapid, technological, or other change, there’s always a shakeout,” said Erica Groshen, a senior economics advisor at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “It’s hard to know how many people are needed to get that work done. Sometimes you need a lot of work to get it off the ground but less work to keep it going.”

In general, tech companies pride themselves in avoiding so-called zombie operations — businesses that earn just enough money to continue operating — but want to be nimble, she added.

A timeline of 2024 tech layoffs, using data from

🛋️ Jan. 2: Frontdesk, a Milwaukee-based “proptech” (property technology) company that leases and furnishes apartments for short and long term rentals, lays off its entire 200-person staff

🛒 Jan. 3: Lazada Group, one of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce businesses, which is owned by tech giant Alibaba, lays off 100 staffers

🩻 Jan. 5: Cue, a healthcare tech startup focused on diagnostic testing, cuts 94 jobs

🧬 Jan. 6: NanoString, a public biotech company, lays off 10% of its workforce and gets a warning from Nasdaq that it will be delisted if shares don’t rebound to the minimum requirement before July

🛒 Jan. 8: New York-based design startup InVision, once valued at $2 billion and seen as a competitor to Adobe, shuts down. Miami-based investment platform Here also shutters operations. Indian commerce company Flipkart cuts 1,000 jobs, and San Francisco’s video game software startup Unity lays off 25% of its staff

👾 Jan. 9: Humane (an AI startup backed by Sam Altman himself), Rent the Runway, Uber Freight, Nevro (a medical device maker), Branch (insurance startup), and Twitch (Amazon-owned streaming platform) announce layoffs. Language learning app Duolingo also slashes 10% of its contract workers

🎥 Jan. 10: Amazon says it will lay off hundreds of employees of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios. Google cut hundreds of jobs across its Voice Assistant Unit, as well as its augmented reality and central engineering teams

📚 Jan. 11: US-based audiobook app Audible (also owned by Amazon) and messaging app Discord, as well as the Indian tech company InMobi, announce job cuts of 100 or more employees each. Media outlet TechCrunch reports that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, plans to reduce its workforce by as much as 20% this year

💻 Jan. 12: Veeam, a software company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, cuts about 300 jobs

📱Jan. 15: Apple says it plans to shutter its San Diego office, and workers who don’t relocate to Austin, Texas will be laid off

🧾 Jan. 16: Business Insider reports on a leaked memo from Google, showing it plans additional job cuts

💻 Jan. 17: Google-owned YouTube slashes 100 jobs.

🛒 Jan. 18: Amazon reportedly plans to cut jobs in its Buy with Prime team, though it will affect fewer than 5% of staffers in the unit.

📱Jan 22: TikTok says it will cut 60 roles in Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. Video game developer Riot lays off 530 workers, or 11% of its staff.

The bright spot in the tech layoffs

Tech talent can move to other industries including the public sector, which is in desperate need of AI expertise as governments try to regulate AI, or to tech-heavy agriculture sectors. In fact, Silicon Valley layoffs have been a boon for farm-equipment makers.

Some of the tech layoffs may also be fueling a surge in applications for new businesses, as the latest Census data shows a high-propensity of business applications coming most from the West, a tech-heavy region, and not from corporations. These people may have more cash to plow into a new business than people laid off from blue-collar jobs.

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