No, the Great Tech Layoffs of 2023 Aren’t Happening Again

So far, 2024 is off to a start that looks a lot like 2023—with a week full of job cuts from tech companies.

Duolingo cut 10 percent of its contractors earlier this week, citing artificial intelligence as part of the reason. Twitch announced a cut of 500 people, and its parent company, Amazon, also made moves to lay off hundreds of employees across Prime Video and MGM Studios on Wednesday.

Google followed, also laying off hundreds of employees working on its Google Voice assistant, with additional reorganization affecting its hardware teams working on augmented reality, the Pixel phone, Fitbit watches, and the Nest thermostat. On Thursday, Discord said it would lay off 17 percent of its staff after hiring too quickly in recent years.

It’s a flurry of announcements that feels all too familiar, but experts say these layoffs don’t necessarily mean 2024 will prove as brutal as recent years. The job cuts are smaller than those made in late 2022 and 2023, when companies like Google, Amazon, and Meta laid off thousands of workers after years of rapid growth. And with a steady labor market in place, they don’t necessarily point to an ongoing slide in tech jobs, but instead to shifting priorities within companies.

The tech sector is looking healthy overall since consumer habits have stabilized after rapid changes during the Covid-19 pandemic, says Rachel Sederberg, senior economist with labor analytics firm Lightcast. Some of these latest cuts target specific departments and products, and may be just a part of doing business.

“Businesses make choices about what they want to focus on all the time, and sometimes they come as job cuts,” Sederberg says. Companies may continue to make these smaller, targeted cuts in coming months, but she says she doesn’t expect to see layoff “contagion” across tech companies or other industries.

Source : Wired