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Companies That Made Big Layoffs Amid Bigger Recession Worries

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Job Losses
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Corporate Downsizing

Though the U.S. continues to see record-low unemployment rates that it hasn't seen in more than half a century, the tide is turning thanks to a looming recession. Big corporations are hedging their bets and laying off employees by the thousands to protect their bottom lines. The big tech and mortgage industries were the first to sound the alarm, with layoffs announced in early 2022, and banks, retailers, and media companies have followed suit. Some of the largest and most notable cuts have been by some of the most recognizable names in U.S. business. 


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PayPal Headquarters San Jose
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Mountain View, CA/USA - May 21, 2018: Exterior view of a Googleplex building, the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc.
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Alphabet

The parent company of Google plans to lay off 12,000 employees, about 6% of its workforce. The company went on a hiring spree during the two last years, recruiting 50,000 new employees as business boomed. But its ad business has since slowed as companies cut costs ahead of a feared recession. According to a staff memo sent by CEO Sundar Pichai, laid-off workers are to receive 60-day notices, at least 16 weeks of severance pay, 2022 bonuses and unused vacation time, and six months of health care coverage.


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Microsoft
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Microsoft

Microsoft plans to lay off 10,000 employees by March 31 as part of a larger cost-cutting plan. The number represents less than 5% of the company's global workforce of 221,000. Laid-off employees in the U.S. will receive severance pay, six months of health care coverage and continued vesting in company stock, and a 60-day notice of termination, the company said in an internal blog post. A pullback in digital spending by consumers and a looming recession were cited as reasons for the layoffs.


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Coinbase Cryptocurrency Exchange Website
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Coinbase

The cryptocurrency market has been collapsing, and Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, in response laid off 18% of its staff, about 1,000 employees, in June. Then in November, it said it would lay off an additional 60 workers. Now, the bleeding isn't even close to over, because 950 more jobs are going to be cut, totaling a fifth of the company's employees. In the understatement of the year, CEO Brian Armstrong said the company had "overhired."

Goldman Sachs Tower
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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs plans to lay off as many as 3,200 employees during the second week of January, according to news reports. More than a third of the cuts are from the investment banker's trading and banking units, which have been hardest hit by a slowdown in the global economy. The firm had just over 49,000 employees at the end of the third quarter, and the cuts may amount to the largest staff reduction since the 2008 financial crisis.

Amazon
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Amazon

Amazon's plan to lay off 10,000 employees, mostly in technology and corporate roles, was first revealed in mid-November. There have been rumors swirling that the layoffs could reach 20,000 and now it appears they were on the mark. An additional wave of layoffs was announced Jan. 4, bringing the total number of planned layoffs at Amazon to 18,000 — so far. The ecommerce giant is to begin advising affected workers starting Jan. 18.

Salesforce
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Salesforce

Salesforce is cutting 10% of its workforce and closing some of its offices. In an email to the tech company's employees, co-CEO Marc Benioff said that the company had hired too many employees early in the pandemic. In January 2022, the company had 73,541 global employees, so the layoffs could involve about 7,300 employees. The layoffs are expected to begin in the coming weeks.

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Meta

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, laid off 11,000 employees in November. Though founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the layoffs a last resort, they still amounted to 13% of its workforce, mostly in the company's recruiting and metaverse teams.

Twitter home page.
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Twitter

The layoffs at Twitter under new owner Elon Musk have been controversial, public, and dramatic. Musk has gone on firing sprees, laying off about 50% of the entire company, or about 3,700 employees, just a week after the purchase of the company was complete in late October. The upheaval has led many employees to resign as well. Some axed employees have even filed a lawsuit claiming that the company violated federal law by not giving sufficient notice of the layoffs.

Morgan Stanley
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Morgan Stanely

Global investment bank Morgan Stanley laid off about 2% of its employees at the beginning of December. Though that doesn't sound like a lot, it's about 1,600 workers, and coincide with the holiday season. The layoffs come after the bank grew its workforce by 34% since the first quarter of 2020. 

CNN Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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CNN

CNN laid off hundreds of employees the first week of December and suspended live programming on HLN. The cuts included notable names like Chris Cillizza, Robin Meade, and Susan Glasser. "The changes we are making today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to place big bets going forward without fear of failure," CNN CEO Chris Licht said in a memo. 

BuzzFeed's New York Headquarters
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Buzzfeed

Digital-media company BuzzFeed is cutting its staff by 12% for a total of about 180 staffers. The layoffs mostly come from the tech, sales, content, and production divisions. "In order for BuzzFeed to weather an economic downturn that I believe will extend well into 2023, we must adapt, invest in our strategy to serve our audience best, and readjust our cost structure," CEO Jonah Peretti said in a memo.

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Carvana

Online used-car company Carvana cut 1,500 employees in November, or 8% of its workforce. It comes as the used-car market slows after booming during the height of the pandemic. The company also laid off 12% of its staff, about 2,500 workers, in May. "To those impacted, I am sorry,” CEO Ernie Garcia said in an email to employees. “As you all know, we made a similar decision to this one in May. It is fair to ask why this is happening again, and yet I am not sure I can answer it as clearly as you deserve.”

Redfin managed house sale
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Redfin

The housing market is no longer booming thanks to rising interest rates. That downturn is why Redfin, a residential real estate brokerage, laid off 862 employees, or about 13% of its workforce, in November. Most of the cuts come from shutting down RedfinNow, its home-flipping business. The cuts were on top of the 8% reduction in its workforce it made in June.

Peloton store entrance view from Main Street in down town area
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Peloton

After soaring sales during the pandemic, Peloton has seen multiple rounds of layoffs. The latest cull came in early October with 500 jobs eliminated. In August, it cut 780 jobs and closed retail stores, and in February, the company laid off 2,800 employees, including 20% of its corporate staff. Combined, that's more than 4,000 employees laid off so far in 2022.

Shopify sign on their headquarters building in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Shopify

The pandemic driven e-commerce boom didn't last as inflation and a looming recession makes consumers tighten their wallets. Retailer Shopify laid off 10% of its global workforce in July, or about 1,000 employees. The cuts came mostly in recruiting, support, and sales roles.

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Gannett

Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain, initiated several rounds of layoffs in 2022. The latest came Dec. 1, when it said an additional 200 jobs would be eliminated, cutting news division staff by 6%. That's on top of the 400 employees laid off in August and the voluntary buyouts and mandatory unpaid leave it announced in October. 

Walmart Cultivated Delivery Service Partners
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DoorDash

Consumers aren't ordering takeout as much these days, and that's affecting third-party delivery companies like DoorDash. It said Nov. 30 that it would cut 1,250 positions to reduce operating costs.