Still not many layoffs, but concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area. Workers found new jobs quickly, and employment in California still rose.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.
Amid all these breathless layoff announcements by tech and social media companies, I’m going to keep an eye on actual layoffs in California as disclosed in the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) reports. The big tech and social media companies are global companies, and the layoff announcements are global, and they’re just announcements, and only part of them take place in the US, and those are scattered all around the US.
How many layoffs in California since July 1?
In total, 54,679 layoffs in all of California were disclosed in the WARN reports in the seven and a half months since July 1, when this layoff tango took on momentum. This includes a large variety of companies, from hospitals to Google, each for its own reasons.
But over the period from July 1 through December, employment has grown by 229,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics state data (latest available), which shows that the laid-off workers are generally absorbed by other employers fairly quickly, and employment growth continued.
Many employers that had been outbid for talent by the tech and social-media overhiring and overpaying frenzy finally have a chance to staff up on their terms.
The 15 counties with the most layoffs.
The table below shows the 15 counties with the most layoffs since July 1. However, here are some important points to complicate the picture:
Los Angeles is the largest county in California, with a population of nearly 10 million people. Over a quarter of California’s population lives in L.A. County. Many other counties are small. This is an important consideration because L.A. County had the largest number of layoffs since July 1 (9,379), but it was small given the size of the huge county.
But San Francisco, which has less than 1/10th of the population (834,000), had 6,971 layoffs – even that is a relatively small number, given the size of the labor market in San Francisco, but it was by far the largest layoff-to-population ratio in the state.
Marin, a small county by population, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, shows 578 layoffs by just one company, Autodesk, which is closing its headquarters office in Marin County and moving its headquarters to San Francisco. Most of its workers are on a hybrid working-from-home basis. But it also reported 61 layoffs at its office in San Francisco. It announced in early February that it will lay off 250 workers of its global workforce. So it seems Autodesk submitted the WARN filing because it permanently closed a facility while most of the workers assigned to the Marin office will be re-assigned to the San Francisco office and keep their jobs.
San Benito, a rural county south of Silicon Valley with a population of just 64,000, is at risk of losing its only hospital, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, which may file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and reported 741 layoffs with an effective date of February 18. Rural hospitals across the US are in trouble.
The three major counties with a significant number of layoffs in proportion to their population are San Francisco, Santa Clara (Southern part of Silicon Valley), and San Mateo (northern part of Silicon Valley):
|County of:||Layoffs||% of CA layoffs||Pop. in 1,000||Layoffs % of pop.|
In the US, even in good times, 1.8 million layoffs and discharges per month.
Companies lay off workers for a variety of reasons, including company-specific issues. And companies fire workers for all kinds of reasons. This is part of the regular churn. No one writes about this because it happens all the time. These workers are relatively quickly absorbed by other employers, and unemployment remains low.
In the US overall, every month during the Good Times before the pandemic, between 1.6 million and 1.8 million workers were laid off or were discharged. And they found jobs relatively quickly.
But during the bad times, suddenly there are 2.5 million layoffs and discharges a month, month after month, just when employers have stopped hiring, and the number of unemployed people looking for a job surges, while companies batten down the hatches.
But that’s precisely what we’re not seeing yet. Total layoffs and discharges in the US have ticked up from the record lows a year ago, to 1.48 million in December, but remain well below the lows of the Good Times before the pandemic, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Laid off not yet.
The WARN report also shows that some layoffs have an “effective date” in March or April, and so these layoffs haven’t even happened yet, such as by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Wayfair, and lots of others, including Gallo Sales Company (winemaker Gallo shut down its inhouse wine distributor and outsourced this business to another company).
Other layoffs in the WARN report have effective dates later in 2023, and some even in 2024.
The California WARN Act requires employers with 75 employees or more to give advance notice to employees affected by plant closings and mass layoffs. With enough severance pay, employers can lay off employees with immediate effect, but they still have to report those layoffs to WARN.
WARN reports don’t reflect the layoffs at small companies of less than 75 employees.
The 61 Companies with 200+ layoffs in California since July 1.
Of the 54,679 layoffs reported by several hundred companies since July 1 in the WARN reports, 55%, or 30,863 layoffs, were reported by just 61 companies, each reporting 200 or more in layoffs during that time.
Among these 61 companies are a number of hospitals, other healthcare providers, and insurers.
The 10 companies with the biggest layoffs accounted for 24% of all of California’s layoffs. But wait…
Temporary layoffs. The #4 on this list, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, reported “temporary” layoffs of 1,213 employees in November when it shut down portions of its facilities in order to migrate production over to new equipment. These laid-off employees returned to work in December.
Jabil (#3) also indicated that a portion of the layoffs were temporary. There are several other smaller “temporary” layoffs in the WARN report and in the list below (indicated). The WARN report does not indicate when workers return to work.
|1||Meta Platforms, Inc.||2,726|
|4||Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream (temporary)||1,213|
|10||Madera Community Hospital||772|
|11||San Benito Health Care District dba Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hosptial||741|
|18||ABM Industry Groups, LLC dba Meta||434|
|19||Blue Shield of California||429|
|23||DHL Supply Chain||394|
|26||Infineon Technologies Americas Corp.||375|
|27||Crest Beverage, L.L.C.||372|
|28||Brown & Toland Physician Services Org.||364|
|29||Elk Grove Auto Group||355|
|30||Gallo Sales Co.||355|
|31||Nutrition Corp, dba Fresh & Lean||353|
|33||Thermo Fisher Scientific||335|
|35||Loews Hotels & Co||321|
|38||Teva Parental Medicines, Inc.||305|
|40||Shift Technologies Inc.||296|
|41||TAP Manufacturing LLC and TAP Worldwide LLC dba 4 Wheel Parts||293|
|47||United Furniture Industries, Inc.||261|
|48||Argo AI, LLC||257|
|56||Healthcare Staffing Professionals||224|
|57||Aseptic Solutions USA Ventures LLC||211|
|58||Athas Capital Group, Inc.||211|
|59||Terre du Soleil dba Auberge du Soleil||206|
|60||American Advisors Group||204|
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