Tech startup layoffs accelerated in November, according to the latest crowdsourced data from layoffs.fyi. That’s a strong reversal from summer and early fall, when the number of startup layoffs seemed in decline.
Before we plunge into the numbers, it’s worth noting that any crowdsourced data has its blind spots—not every startup reducing its workforce will report its numbers publicly, for instance. Layoffs.fyi also counts tech giants such as Uber and Salesforce as “startups,” despite those companies having thousands of employees and earning billions of dollars. Nonetheless, the website is viewed by many as a comprehensive source of startup layoff data; here are the numbers from May (when the layoffs trend seemed on a declining trajectory) through November of this year:
What’s behind this significant November spike? While smaller startups contributed hundreds of layoffs to this total, the biggest names in tech—including Meta (11,000+ layoffs in November), Amazon (10,000+), Twitter (3,700), Carvana (1,500), DoorDash (1,250), Stripe (1,000) and Salesforce (1,000)—constituted a substantial chunk of the cutbacks.
During the pandemic, many of these huge companies booked significant revenues as customers spent more on cloud-based apps and services. But with economic uncertainty and fears of a potential recession, executives at these companies are now looking to cut costs—and that often means reducing headcount, especially within divisions viewed as unprofitable or bloated.
Meanwhile, it’s important to keep in mind that the overall tech unemployment rate fell to 2 percent in November, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as analyzed by CompTIA. Tech companies hired 14,400 workers in November, and organizations in all industry sectors added 137,000 tech occupations. Tech sector employment increased by 207,200 between January and November.
“The hotter-than-anticipated tech jobs report confirms there are still many more employers hiring tech talent than shedding it,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the data. “It’s certainly premature to dismiss concerns over the health of the economy, but this should be a reassuring sign for the tech workforce.”