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Layoffs beyond Hype: No, Does Not Track Actual Layoffs … – WOLF STREET

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Salesforce “announced” a “plan” today. According to this plan, it may lay off 10% of its global workforce, and these layoffs, it said in the SEC filing, will be “substantially complete” by the end of “fiscal 2024,” so by January 2024, “subject to local law and consultation requirements.”
These are future layoffs that will take place “mostly over the coming weeks” and may be completed by January 2024. The layoffs may total 8,000 people, based on the number of employees the company had. They’re global: Some will be in the US and some will be in other countries, as Salesforce said specificially. Layoffs in other countries will not impact the US labor market. And some of them will be H-1B visa holders, who have 60 days to find another employer to sponsor them, and if they cannot, they’re expected to leave the US.
This is what layoff “announcements” mean. This has been the same principle with all big-company layoff announcements that get hyped in the media: they’re announcements, many of them will take time, and they’re global, and only part of them will be in the US.
So combs through media articles and company news releases, and it tracks the published number of announced future layoffs on a spreadsheet. It also links the article from which it cited the info.
This morning, added Salesforce to its list, with “# laid off 8,000” (past tense, as if those layoffs had already been done!). It said the “location” is the “SF Bay Area.” And it cited the source: a New York Times article (click on the screenshot to enlarge):
US layoffs fyi screenshot 2023 01 03
Also, it lists announcements from companies that are headquartered in other countries – such as China, India, Singapore, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, etc. – and it totals them all up with the US-headquartered companies, as total global layoff announcements. Those announcements aren’t about US layoffs either.
That type of tracking of announcements is interesting. Another company – outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. – has long been tracking and publishing layoff announcements by US companies of their global workforce. So this is not new. And it produces similar interesting results that are largely irrelevant for the US labor market: They’re just announcements and no one knows what portion of them will eventually even be in the US.
In other words, says zero about actual layoffs by Salesforce in the US. And it misleads its readers about when those layoffs happen – the Salesforce layoffs haven’t started yet.
We don’t know how many Salesforce employees in the US will eventually be laid off in the end. And if a company drags this out long enough, regular attrition, such as people quitting because they got a better job, will replace layoffs, and actual layoffs will be lower. Many companies announce layoffs to boost their stock price – Salesforce [CRM] jumped 3.5% on the announcement – and then the layoffs never happen to the extent announced.
If we want to know how many people in the US actually got laid off, we cannot get this information from It tells us nothing about actual layoffs in the US by Salesforce, but about its plans in the future to lay off 10% of its global workforce.
And yet, the financial media keep citing these figures as if they were actual US layoffs, including the Wall Street Journal today, when it said, in the past tense, as if it were an accomplished fact: “Collectively, tech employers cut more than 150,000 jobs in 2022, based on estimates from…” No, no, no, they “announced” x number of layoffs of their global workforce, not their US workforce. And no one knows what their actual layoffs in the US were.
To get a feel or actual layoffs and discharges of workers in the US we can look what companies reported to the US government in a variety of huge surveys, including the data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. The companies report the actual number of people that they laid off or discharged during the survey period. Today’s data is for November, so the number of workers they laid off or discharged for other reasons in November. And it covers all US employers, not just tech and social media.
Across the US economy, there are always a lot of layoffs and discharges, even during the best of times. This is part of the normal churn in the labor market.
Employers laid off or discharged for other reasons 1.35 million people in November, down by 95,000 from October, down by 24% from November 2019, in the same historically low range since April 2022, and far below the best of times before the pandemic, going back to 2000, according to the JOLTS data, released today, based on what 21,000 employers said about the number of people they laid off and discharged.
US Job openings JOLTS 2023 01 03 layoffs
Initial claims for unemployment insurance, at 225,000 in the last reporting week, have inched up from record lows, but are in the same low range as before the pandemic, according to the Labor Department last Thursday.
This is not based on surveys, but on actual applications for unemployment money by people who’ve lost their jobs. There just hasn’t been the surge of applications that I’m waiting for:
US unemployment claims 2022 12 29 initital long
And the number of people who are still claiming unemployment insurance at least one week after the initial application for UI – people who haven’t yet found another job – rose to 1.71 million, according to the Labor Department last Thursday.
This is still historically low, in the same range as during the hot labor market in the two years just before the pandemic. But it has risen from the all-time record lows in June, indicating that the trend lower has reversed, that the labor market is getting a little less tight, and that some of the laid-off people are now having to look longer to find a new job. That 1.71 million continued UI claims is lower than any time in the decades from 2018 going back to 1974.
US unemployment claims 2022 12 29 continued long
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Great points, but is this statement a typo:
“Employers laid off or discharged for other reasons 1.35 million people in November, down by 95,000 from October, down by 24% from November 2019”
Where’s the typo?
OK, I get it. It’s gross job reductions, which doesn’t factor in new hiring.
NO, it’s not “gross jobs reductions.” It’s the number of people who were laid off or fired.
The people that were fired might have been replaced by a new hire the same day. People get fired (and replaced) for all kinds of common reasons, including performance.
More extend an pretend
Year end is the season for retirements and won’t show up in unemployment states as far as benefits go. January may show the forward trend.
The salesforce stock jumped 3.57% on the news. The lack of accountability to these announcements clearly shows that “consensual hallucination” prevails despite some QE.
In big companies most divisions have hiring freeze, however many stupid division are still hiring inf hope of picking up laid off talents at discount. These stupid divisions are the ones where the leader is new and has not seen a real slowdown and so is still adding heads to grow revenues with no regards to profitability, possibly hoping for a Fed Pivot.
But wait, US labor force is much bigger than 153M
Hype and fear sells, luckily FED doesn’t use this type of data to track unemployment so no excuse for them to slow down on QT or rate hike anytime…the road is clear Pow Pow, do your thing in 2023…we still have a long way to go in home prices and hyped up stock price to bring in back in line..
On a different note, was reading Marc’s email to effected layoff staff, apparently being part of the family means we will kick you to the curb as well..I always giggle when I see this type of empty platitude on display..
“The employees being affected aren’t just colleagues. They’re friends. They’re family. Please reach out to them. Offer the compassion and love they and their families deserve and need now more than ever. And most of all, please lean on your leadership, including me, as we work through this difficult time together”
And of course the most cynical phrase of all …
“Our employees are are most valuable assets”
so long as we cannot find someone to do your job cheaper. Should that happen, we will let you know via a layoff or termination notice.
Don’t forget Salesforce will be paying each person at least 5 months of salary. That’s very generous. They really don’t have to.
Don’t forget Salesforce purchased Slack 2 years ago for $27 billion.
Figures! is run by a startup founder, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the numbers are full of hype. Somehow there’s a running tally of employees laid off at the top, yet many of the citations don’t provide numbers and the column of the chart is empty.
For layoffs only (not firings), wouldn’t using the layoff notices required by at least some states be a better source of information? I’m sure that method would have its problems, just as surveys do, but at least it should be a lot more accurate than
WOLF: “If we want to know how many people in the US actually got laid off, we cannot get this information from”
As the article “implies”, this “” doesn’t not appear to be a reliable, “hard data” driven, vetted technical tool or resource. To the contrary, based on this recent article in SF Gate:, a site that has tracked a vast majority of the tech layoffs that have taken place since 2020. That’s nearly 30% of all the layoffs listed on the site globally, Roger Lee, its creator, pointed out. Lee told SFGATE that he developed the site as a weekend project when the pandemic initially emerged.
“I created as a side project to create awareness around all of these tech layoffs, in the hopes of helping laid-off employees find a home at a company still fortunate to be hiring,” Lee, also the founder of San Francisco financial startup Human Interest, said in an email.
[original content removed by the evil censor Wolf]
What Nathan said:
[As the article “implies”, this “” doesn’t not appear to be a reliable, “hard data” driven, vetted technical tool or resource.]
Did you RTGDFC?
Clearly you are missing what Nathan tried to imply. He cut and pasted some nonsense from SF Gate (whatever that is) article. I read his comment twice, and it sounds more bs than the first time I read it.
“Did you RTGDFC?”
Apparently not :-]
I misread it. I’m still not 100% what it says. But it doesn’t say what I reacted to the first time. So I, evil censor Wolf, censored my own comment to nothingness. Apologies.
Slight disconnect. I was agreeing with your article that the website ” does NOT report actual layoffs.” My comment was the website is Garbage in Garbage out and does “NOT report actual layoffs.”
The quote was from the article, not my text, to reinforce that this website simply started as a hobby site, NOT vetted data of actual layoffs, and concluded it was nothing more than aggregated unvetted reports and I understand it does “NOT report actual layoffs.”
Sorry for the misunderstanding as I did not mean to undermine your article by appearing to support the website, which seems to be thrusting itself into the mainstream press lately.
Yes, I got that now, sorry. Censored my own comment.
JOLTS gets my vote for best acronym of the month.
Anyone else remember JOLT soda, you know a heart-attack in a can? All the sugar and twice the caffeine! I haven’t seen it for years, this was my generations monster or redbull.
Yeah… I remember it. I guess it was just ahead of its time. Otherwise, and with better graphics, it might’ve gone to the moon.
Jim Cramer issued a Buy, Buy, Buy for Salesforce. He said 2023 will be a great year for this stock. Go for it!
Always inverse Cramer!
I still do not understand what they actually do, but they built the biggest empty office building west of Sears tower.
We know several Salesforce people who were laid off today.
Yep, I was just reading a story on HN and someone said their wife was laid off today. I definitely accept that a press release is not the same as actual layoffs, but SF backed this up with immediate action.
Yeah I would quibble with Wolf’s statement that “the Salesforce layoffs haven’t started yet” but in general his point is well taken that a layoff announcement is not a layoff and the numbers may change in either direction between the announcement and the layoff itself. Every company does it a little differently with some companies giving a lot of notice, some companies trying to be stealth but having it leak a few days ahead of time and some companies locking out access day of the layoff.
I’ve been reading job postings and articles about the American job market.
The trend is that burger flippers are being offered US$12 and up to work at fast food places in places where the State min. wage is less than US$10/hr, and in States with min. wages from $10-15/hr, they can’t even find burger flippers even if they offer a starting wage of US$18+/hr.
In Canada, warehouse agencies still have vacancies to work in warehouses starting at C$17/hr, and despite the desperation of the government to resort to indirect union busting (the 500,000 newcomers a year), these modern day peasant job agencies can’t find workers.
So, as Michael Snyder would ask, where have most of the working age gone?
A few years ago, the Toronto job agencies were telling college graduates to work for free for job experience. Even the Bank of Canada bureaucrat Poloz alluded that university graduates need to work for free for a while.
Now, you can’t even find warm bodies paying above minimum wage to work in dead-end factory and burger flipping jobs.
Those are the jobs traditionally filled by teenagers or a steady influx of immigrants. These are the jobs most Americans will not do. Whatever your politics may be on the issue of borders, the reality is cheap labor has always been done by illegal and legal immigrants and nobody in the C-suite or congress is screaming to “close the borders”, if it means the agricultural workers can’t come in to work the fields or slaughterhouses and meat packing plants. Hypocrisy has created the dearth of low income workers and it is America’s own fault– for not having a good immigration system that provides legal workers to fill those jobs.
“These are the jobs most Americans will not do.”
Why? Do most Amerikans feel that some jobs are beneath them?
Not sure. I would venture to say most Americans who will not do these, “dead-end factory and burger flipping jobs” have likely not felt enough pain to do whatever it takes to survive. They are probably just not hungry enough…not cold enough or dont have enough work ethic or sense of duty and honor to take any job that provides for their family’s immediate needs.
“Do most Amerikans feel that some jobs are beneath them?”
Yes, when they have wealthy parents. We have the greatest wealth concentration in history, so there are lots of wealthy parents passing down money and perks to their kids.
This includes most rural jobs as well, good luck finding a farmhand or agricultural worker that is legal.
“These are the jobs most Americans will not do.”
I did them when I was younger. So did everyone else I knew. That’s how we realized that we wanted to do something a little more remunerative, that wasn’t quite as physically demanding, and got motivated to join the military, or go to school, or something, to get ahead.
I like what Mr. Bobber replied. I am part of the 401K generation that saved for 40 years. My cohort has sizable savings that Wall street would love to tap. My kids won’t take menial jobs when the Parents are always a backstop. But we should all panic a little as we enter assisted living and PE strips our hard-won savings. Our local non profit and very nice nursing home was just acquired by PE. One of many. So that 401k will be taken by kids or PE. I’d rather my somewhat snobby kids spend it than PE. Such is life.
Yes, that is correct — todays American labor force is comprised of entitled, work-shy upstarts, unwilling to suffer like the storied stoics of stouter stuff from some other mythical period or far-off land.
It is everyone’s moral & civic duty to be underemployed and clinically depressed. Just gotta get these brats scared, hungry & cold enough!
That’s my point. Canada has record high population growth, yet the modern day plantation job agencies can’t find workers, even if they offer above minimum wage.
Either the newcomers are getting jobs at Google, or they are liv ing in a different dimension.
The job market is very odd.
You have to remember that jobs above the very low end in employment are also struggling to hire, that makes it all the tougher for the lowest quality/wage employers. I mean why work in a warehouse or wash dishes when you can make twice as much or more in trades which are also finding it hard to fill positions for example?
It has been ages since I even stepped into a warehouse but even back then employment agencies mostly offered the bottom of the barrel of employees that most places (though not all) did everything they could to avoid. Decent number of hires were through family and acquaintances of other employees. With any kind of ethnically dominated business employees are hired in that way too but also through various ethnic community organizations, these businesses are the most likely to snag newcomers and suffer less from a labour shortage provided newcomers share the same language (the biggest barrier initially), but it will be tougher for English only places of work. It was like this already over a decade ago.
In Canada it’s different from the USA. One way is that an American employer has to sponsor someone to get them hired for the job, and mainly that’s in tech.
In Canada, we treat educated newcomers with decades of experience as medical doctors or managers at Swiss banks in the same league as undocumented migrants crossing the US-Mexico border to pick strawberries in a Californian farm.
Many newcomers to Canada don’t start off working in their fields. They are told that their skills are needed for Canada, but when they arrive, they are coerced by bureaucrats to get any job they can get, which in this case is washing dishes or working in warehouses to enrich the Canadian corporations.
The would would rather hire the illegals.
Totally agree. It’s weird. I hire minimum wage staff for my quasi government employer.
Never seen anything like it. We constantly get ghosted and scrape the bottom of the barrel. Our main selling point used to be the benefits, which are really good, but after the pandemic they simply don’t draw the interest they once did.
Our best employees were the 19-22 year olds (still figuring out what they wanna be) and the others were / are all 55+ (who know what they don’t wanna be). Can’t get either age bracket to even apply, much less come onboard.
We used to get a good one for every 3 we hired that would stick for a couple years. Lately we are running about 1 out of 7. I have had constant open positions for over 2-years.
You pay $7.25/hr and you get little interest and get ghosted?
That’s a puzzler for sure.
There’s f***in’ room to move as a fry cook. I could manager in two years. King. God.
Modern Fed is supposed to be counter cyclical, but they were stimulating into the boom and are going to be restrictive right into recession.
Unfortunately it wrecks havoc in the interest rate sensitive sectors like housing. I expect everyone employed in residential construction to get crushed. Going to take a couple of years to play out.
The company I work for layed off 8% in Dec, 3000 people. A lot of good paying jobs. Many execs let go. Remaining workers are looking forward to minimal to zero pay increases. In a prior downturn pay was reduced 10% so there is speculation about that. And bonuses and stock will likely go away. So even those not played off will tighten the belt. This is a company supplying the cloud. Growth there has halted. These effects will take time to impact the economy. And Biden wants to raise corporate taxes. SMH
And now we will find out who was actually swimming naked 😉
Hint: bloodbath for the laptop class is just around the corner
I think companies should pay more than 0%, it’s only fair.
Avalanches are usually preceded by crack propagation and noise as the weak snow layers fail.
Once corporate earnings are in obvious decline they will begin in earnest the layoffs as this is the fastest way to reduce costs. Share buybacks are now in the rearview mirror.
We had some of those early warnings in our office last year with targeted layoffs but they were almost invisible because the people that got cut had been “working from home.” The only way you could know is they showed up to clear their office after two years of missing in action.
I do not think we will need to wait more than one or two quarters to see the avalanche.
I have heard that it takes 1 to 1 1/2 years for each rate hike to impact the economy.
WSJ just reported Amazon to layoff 17,000 corporate employees. More than the expected 10,000 number reported earlier.
Just search for “Amazon to Lay Off Over 17,000 Workers, More Than First Planned”
A recession isn’t in the cards until 1st-time unemployment applications rise to ~250K and then slowly keep moving higher. Core PCE inflation is not going to drop anywhere close to 2% anytime this year without a recession.
“The St. Louis Fed said in its report that if 26 states have falling activity within their borders, that offers “reasonable confidence” that the nation as a whole will fall into a recession.”
Philadelphia Fed data tracking the performance of individual states, said 27 had declining activity in October.
Amazon just increased their layoff estimate to 17,000. Add that to CRM’s 10,000 layoff estimate.
Companies do these layoff announcements at the end of a quarter usually because they expect to miss earnings estimates. They hope a layoff announcement will mitigate investor backlash and stock price drop resulting from missed earnings.
I would not be holding AMZN or CRM stock into earnings given the timing of the layoff announcements. I’m predicting earnings misses at both companies.
Businesses complaining that they can’t hire
workers means they aren’t offering high enough wages. If the business model can’t survive unless
they have cheap labor, perhaps it’s time the
business model is changed ? My guess is that they will scream about increasing immigration
and raising the social security age instead of
making any sacrifice to their wallet.
I work at salesforce. We’ve had people in the US laid off as well as India counterparts. Salesforce also owns Tableau, Mulesoft, and Slack. Some of these companies had up to 25% let go based on internal rumor mill.
Employment like everything else has to be weighed in context. What is disturbing about the economy is not the employment numbers, but the productivity of workers. There is an ever widening gap in GDP and GDI and when ever there is a divergence in two indicators that historically are parallel it can only mean one of those indicators has to revert to the mean.
The workers in America are not in good shape. Along with dropping production, you have a reduction in knowledge and training, and a general crisis in mental health within the entire population. Depression and anxiety are increasing even higher than levels seen during COVID.
The term they are using is a “social recession”.
Salesforce had 49k employees pre-covid. During 2020 through 2022 the employee count went to 74k. So they add around 25k or 50% more employees in 2 1/2 years.
Even after laying off 10k, they grew their employees by 30% from 2020. Many companies hired too many people thinking that the crazy pandemic growth would continue.
Most of the companies did the same thing. We think these guys are smart but they are not.
SalesForce CEO said he takes full responsibility for this. But then I wonder how did it impact him in anyway. He still has his job and money.
“Some of you may die, but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make”
—Lord Farquaad
Yesterday saw a huge screaming crowd (North Sheridan Rd, Chicago).
Instead of investigating myself I bought Chicago Sun Times. Howard Health Infirmary (or Hospital or Hospice or Outfit or whatever) has $12M shortfall and started laying off nurses. Union members are first to let go… 500 nurses gathered to protest…
Geez… I thought all those infirmaries are flush with Gov money…
And they are definitely going try to keep that money and not give it away to employees.
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