Recent tech layoffs have been hard to see in government jobs data in part because of the scale of the American economy. In 2019, 1.8 million people were laid off each month. So far in 2023, the average is about 1.7 million per month, signaling that layoffs are actually still historically low.
One government dataset that is showing a clear increase in tech layoffs is unemployment insurance (UI) claimants from the Department of Labor. In April 2023, UI claimants in the Information sector were up 30,840 or +75 percent year-over-year and in Professional/Scientific/Technical Services were up 46,612 or +71 percent. Taken together, these two sectors account for one-fourth of the rise in UI claimants over the last year.
And it's also important to remember that the tech industry also includes many non-technical workers, and that recent layoffs have not just been about tech. While Computer and Math occupations have seen a sharp rise in UI claimants (+61,974, +63 percent year-over-year), there have also been sharp increases in other types of jobs like Management (+47,971, +54 percent), Office and Administrative Support (+32,255, +29 percent) and Business & Financial Operations (+29,401, +79 percent). These four occupational groups account for over half of the increase in UI claimants over the last year. This also highlights the more "white-collar" bent of recent layoffs.
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