As we step into a new year, the labor market is revealing signs of a gradual cool-off, prompting some companies to initiate staff reductions. Despite a low unemployment rate of 3.7%, near a 50-year low, and promising economic indicators, the cautious outlook is echoed by a slowdown in hiring, a decline in open positions, and a lower rate of employee quits.
While the prospect of a recession appears to be diminishing, businesses are reassessing their staffing plans, and several prominent companies have already announced layoffs in 2024.
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Where the job market stands
The labor market, which once exhibited robustness, is now signaling caution with recent indicators showing a slowdown in hiring and a decline in open positions compared to the beginning of the previous year.
Despite an unemployment rate at historic lows, the lingering uncertainties have led some businesses to reevaluate their staffing plans for the upcoming year. With an uncertain market, it might be a good time for you to see where your financial health is at so that you aren't caught unprepared.
Companies that have already laid off employees in 2024
Many companies have already participated in a round of layoffs since the new year kicked off. Here are some of the biggest names:
- Alphabet (Google): Google has laid off hundreds of employees in multiple divisions, including hardware and internal software tools, as part of its effort to reverse its pandemic-induced hiring spree.
- Amazon: The e-commerce giant is streamlining its operations by eliminating hundreds of jobs across its film and television studio and Twitch streaming platform. Additionally, Amazon's audiobook platform, Audible, is cutting 5% of its staff, about 100 people, to enhance efficiency.
- BlackRock: The world's largest asset manager is laying off 600 employees, constituting around 3% of its total workforce. This move follows a similar layoff of about 3% in January 2023.
- Citigroup: In a multiyear restructuring plan, Citigroup is set to eliminate 20,000 jobs by the end of 2026, representing a substantial restructuring effort.
- Discord: The popular messaging platform used by gamers is cutting 17%, about 170 people, of its staff, acknowledging that its workforce expansion over the years has led to operational inefficiencies.
- Duolingo: The language-learning software company has cut 10% of its contractors and is implementing artificial intelligence for some content creation.
- Rent the Runway: The fashion subscription company is reducing its workforce by 10%, affecting 37 roles, in a move to streamline operations.
- Unity Software: The video game company is laying off 25% of its workforce, totaling 1,800 employees, as part of a broader industry trend.
- Universal Music Group: The music company that Taylor Swift calls home is planning to lay off around 100 to 300 employees globally in 2024, according to insider information.
- Xerox: The printer maker is trimming its workforce by 15%, affecting a significant portion of its employees.
In addition to these, various other companies are also experiencing layoffs in the early days of 2024, with notable names like Instagram and Humane. Now might be a good time to find ways to earn more money online so that you can supplement any potential future layoffs.
How to prepare for a potential round of layoffs
Given the current uncertainties in the job market, it's prudent for professionals to be prepared for potential layoffs. Here are some strategic steps to consider:
- Assess your finances: Review your financial situation, create a budget, and build an emergency fund to provide a financial cushion in case of unexpected job loss.
- Update your resume and skills: Keep your resume up-to-date and continuously enhance your skills to remain competitive in the job market. Consider acquiring new certifications or participating in relevant training programs.
- Diversify your skills: Broaden your skill set to make yourself more adaptable to different roles. Being versatile enhances your marketability in a changing job landscape.
- Check your company’s WARN status: You can check to see if your company has formally declared layoffs by checking WARN notices and clicking here. WARN gets its name from the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ACT of 1988, which is a labor law that requires all companies with 100 or more employees to give official notice 60 days before planned layoffs or closings.
As we navigate the complexities of the current job market, it's evident that several major companies are making strategic workforce adjustments in 2024.
Being proactive in understanding the landscape, preparing for potential layoffs, and fortifying one's professional toolkit might be essential strategies for individuals in this dynamic employment environment.
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