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Tech Layoffs Way Up This Year, with Google Deep into Cost Cutting

CNBC is reporting that companies across the country laid off almost 90,000 individuals in March 2023, a big increase from the prior month and a huge increase from a year ago. There have been 270,416 job cuts this year, up 396% from one year ago. A large chunk of those layoffs (102,391 specifically) occurred in the tech field, a 5% increase over the prior year. The report asserts tech is on pace to exceed 2001's layoff numbers, which was the worst year on record for tech. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts significant layoffs will continue throughout the year. Companies inside and outside the tech sector attribute cuts mostly to market and economic conditions but also cite a need to cut costs. With the slowdown in economic growth, job openings have also begun to fall. 

As part of its cost-cutting goals, Google has focused on all areas, not just reducing its staff (eliminating 12,000 jobs in January). Google did not pay the remainder of laid-off employees' maternity and medical leaves. Google is revising its policy of providing new laptops to employees.  Employees used to be able to select from a variety of computers when replacing them. Going forward, non-engineering employees who need new laptops will automatically receive Chromebooks. If employees require accessories exceeding $1,000, they will need a manager's approval. CNBC reported that Google would no longer provide staplers and tape across the office at print stations, just at receptionists' desks. A Google spokesperson said any internal messages about staplers and tape were erroneous, and these supplies will continue to be widely available. Google is also reducing some of its well-known perks. For example, Google's cafes will be open on a more limited basis, given the hybrid schedule of most employees, and it will reduce intercampus buses and exercise class offerings. Alphabet's CFO (Google's parent company) indicated the company will continue to evaluate data to determine where further cost-cutting makes sense.