Layoff Spree Continues in April and Is Spreading Beyond the Tech Sector

Several major multinational companies kicked off Q2 by announcing plans to slash jobs or letting go employees affected by previously announced layoffs.

A UBS logo
UBS plans to lay off 36,000 employees following its acquisition of Credit Suisse. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The tech industry closed out the first three months of 2023 with more jobs eliminated than in the entirety of 2022. The rush of layoffs shows no sign of slowing down as we enter the second quarter and it is quickly spreading beyond the tech sector.

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In the first week of April alone, several multinational companies announced plans to slash jobs or begun informing employees affected by previously announced layoffs.

UBS: Cutting 36,000 jobs following the Credit Suisse takeover

Switzerland’s largest bank plans to eliminate 36,000 jobs after completing its acquisition of Credit Suisse (CS), Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on April 2. The number is significantly higher than the 9,000 job cuts Credit Suisse planned ahead of its buyout.

The two banks employed about 125,000 people at the end of 2022, with roughly 30 percent of staff based in Switzerland. The post-merger layoff will reduce UBS’s workforce by 30 percent, making it the largest corporate downsizing in the past six months.

UBS recently hired back former CEO Sergio Ermotti to oversee the bank’s integration with Credit Suisse.

McDonald’s: Cutting a few hundred amid restructuring

McDonald's is laying off hundreds of workers and has closed its corporate offices this week as it informs affected employees.

CEO Chris Kempczinski hinted at the job cuts in January but didn’t disclose a specific number. McDonald’s is going through a broader restructuring by focusing on restaurant expansion and halting certain projects, Kempczinski said at the time.

At the end of 2022, the fast food giant employed more than 150,000 people globally across its corporate offices and company-owned restaurants. About a third of McDonald’s workers are based in the U.S.

Apple: Reducing “a small number” of retail positions

At the height of Silicon Valley’s layoff spree in December and January, Apple (AAPL) was the only Big Tech company whose business seemed strong enough to avoid job cuts. But the iPhone maker has reportedly begun eliminating a small number of positions in one of its retail teams, Bloomberg reported on April 3.

Apple has been slashing costs in recent months through hiring freezes, bonus delays, reducing travel budgets and cutting contractor positions. At the company’s quarterly earnings call in early February, CEO Tim Cook said layoffs were “a last resort” as long as he could cut costs elsewhere.

Amazon: Massive layoffs hit video gaming divisions

Amazon (AMZN) has begun letting go about 100 employees across its video games divisions as part of a round to cut 9,000 jobs company-wide. The e-commerce and cloud giant has announced cuts to 27,000 positions since late 2022 under the leadership of its new CEO Andy Jassy.

The big picture: Layoffs accelerate in an overheated economy

While the broader U.S. economy remains strong and adds hundreds of thousands of new jobs every month, the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes have forced many businesses to slow down on spending and reverse the aggressive hiring that defined the pandemic.

Since October 2022, about 760 companies around the world have slashed more than half a million jobs, with the median layoff accounting for about 10 percent of a company’s total workforce, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.

The pace has only accelerated in 2023. In January alone, nearly 90,000 people were laid off at 271 companies, exceeding the total number of the previous three months, according to layoffs.fyi, a widely cited tracker of layoffs in the tech industry.

The tech sector accounts for almost a third of global layoffs since October, with Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft collectively slashing 80,000 jobs, according to Bloomberg data.

Layoff Spree Continues in April and Is Spreading Beyond the Tech Sector