Big Tech’s Layoffs Have Little Impact on the Robust US Jobs Market

Workers let go by Big Tech companies may need to settle for lower pay outside the tech industry.

The headquarters of Twitter pictured in San Francisco, with the company's logo in front.
Twitter has laid off 75 percent of its staff since Elon Musk took over the company. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While massive layoffs continue to ravage the tech industry, with companies like Amazon, Meta and Salesforce cutting tens of thousands of employees, jobs data suggest those affected workers are either quickly absorbed into other sectors of the economy or their numbers are too small to change the big picture of the U.S. labor market.

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In December, U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported today (Jan. 6). The unemployment rate fell from previous months to pre-pandemic levels of 3.5 percent, the lowest point in decades. The number of new jobs created in December is lower than the average in previous months but in line with economists’ expectations and a sign the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy to quell inflation is working.

Healthcare, education and hospitality are among sectors with the highest job creation in December, while electronic products, information services and administrative services saw declines, the Labor Department data show. At many tech companies, layoffs are ongoing or planned. So December’s jobs data may not fully reflect the impact.

Today’s report capped another year of strong job creation. The U.S. economy added a total of 4.5 million jobs in 2022, the second highest on record after the 6.7 million jobs added in 2021. Several companies that recently announced layoffs cited aggressive hiring in 2021 as a main reason. The cuts most acutely affected supporting departments such as recruiting and customer service.

There are lots of jobs, just not high-paying tech jobs

It’s increasingly difficult for laid-off Big Tech workers to find jobs within the same industry. On Team Blind, a social networking site for verified tech workers, an Amazon employee posted in early December he was interviewing for a job at DoorDash only to find out days later the food delivery company was going to slash 30 percent of its workforce and terminated the interview process.

In threads discussing what companies are still hiring, multiple users pointed out there are plenty of job openings out there but they likely pay much less than the so-called FAANG companies (they are Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google).

“All FAANGs over hired. Other companies didn’t. There are still opportunities out there. But those companies don’t pay much,” posted a user working at medical-device maker Stryker.

Crowd-sourced jobs information on Blind show companies that are actively hiring include JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Rivian and Bloomberg. In the tech sector, some teams at Microsoft and Google still have openings. So do fintech companies PayPal and Block (formerly Square). TikTok is hiring, too, despite reports of its parent company ByteDance recently laying off hundreds in its China headquarters.

“The sharp downturn in public market tech valuations has resulted in a sizable outflow of employees from big tech companies and an inflow of digitally savvy workers into mainstream businesses,” wrote John Thornhill, founder of Sifted, a business news site backed by the Financial Times, in an op-ed in the FT on Jan. 5.

Big Tech’s Layoffs Have Little Impact on the Robust US Jobs Market