Exploring The Economic Paradox Of Ongoing Tech Industry Layoffs

Big Tech has been fueling market gains even as workers lose their jobs. Exploring The Economic Paradox Of Ongoing Tech Industry Layoffs Giphy

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On one hand, the tech industry has been a major source of stock market gains in recent weeks, which has helped increase optimism about the state of the economy. On the other, the same sector has also been the source of a huge number of layoffs over the same period, suggesting that the economy might be on shaky ground.

So what’s really going on? That's not such an easy question to answer.

Competing statistics

In 2023 alone, more than a quarter-million jobs were slashed in the sector. Some say it was a correction to post-pandemic over hiring, but that doesn’t make it any easier for workers who received a pink slip.

And January’s stats reveal that the trend isn’t reversing in 2024. A bevy of firms, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and PayPal announced layoffs last month.

Taking a step back to view the broader employment market, however, provides a much different perspective. A whopping 353,000 jobs were added in January, which eclipsed expectations.

And that brings us to a discussion about why the tech industry is different.

It’s more than COVID

Sure, the pandemic was a big factor. Consumers who socked away money during the lockdowns spent a lot of that cash on tech products, but that spending has cooled off significantly. As a result, these companies have had to tighten their belts to remain profitable — and that naturally involves layoffs.

But then there’s AI, which has allowed companies to do more with less. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to be changing anytime soon.

These changes might not be great for workers, but they’ve been a boon for the companies. After the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped by about 33% in 2022, it rebounded last year to add a massive 43% to its value.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee February 5th, 2024
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