US job cuts in January-February hit highest level since 2009 – report

March 9 (Reuters) – Layoffs at US companies in January and February hit the highest since 2009, with the technology sector accounting for more than a third of the more than 180,000 announced job cuts, a report showed on Thursday.

In February alone, layoffs in the United States totaled 77,770, more than five times the 15,245 job cuts announced a year earlier, according to the report by employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

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“Right now, the overwhelming majority of the cuts are happening in the technology space. Retail and finance are also being cut right now as consumer spending matches economic conditions,” said Andrew Challenger, the company’s senior vice president.

Technology companies from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) to PayPal Holdings (PYPL.O) have shed thousands of jobs this year to rein in spending and tighten margins amid an uncertain economic outlook to protect .

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“The layoffs that many of these companies are announcing are welcome to investors, a kind of right sizing of the cost structure, rationalization of growth being rewarded in the market,” said James Tierney, chief investment officer at wealth management firm Alliance Bernstein.

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Alphabet, Microsoft, Inc (AMZN.O), and Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) shares are up between 6% and 54% so far this year after falling between 29% and 64% in 2022.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday reiterated his message of higher, and potentially faster, rate hikes that could force companies to shed more jobs.

U.S. firms announced plans to hire 28,830 workers in February, down 87% from 215,127 a year earlier, the report added.

Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Akash Sriram

Thomson Reuters

Akash reports on technology companies in the United States, electric vehicle companies and the space industry. Its coverage usually appears in the Auto & Transport and Technology sections. He has a postgraduate degree in Conflict, Development and Security from the University of Leeds. Akash’s interests include music, football and Formula 1.


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