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California emits latest layoff statistics. March's numbers are ugly. It's 19,000 total, including many in tech

Symantec, Cisco, Uber, loathsome Juul, others shed staff amid pandemic

California, home of Silicon Valley, has released its latest figures on job losses in the US state, and it's not pretty.

These numbers emerge as 3.28 million people nationwide filed for unemployment benefits in one week, quadruple the previous record, after businesses reacted to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Cali's latest Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) statistics [PDF] cover July 2019 to March 25, 2020. And as the table below shows, March has not been a good month due to the ongoing pandemic and other reasons.

Month Number of people impacted
July 2019 4,400
August 2019 9,705
Sept 2019 9,443
October 2019 7,769
Nov 2019 7,522
Dec 2019 2,766
January 2020 7,641
February 2020 7,164
March 2020 18,998

The report also confirms some job losses in tech. An alphabetical stroll through the list shows, for instance:

  • Big Switch shedding 60 staff in January;
  • Health tech company Cerner making 1,307 layoffs late last year;
  • Cisco saying goodbye to 395 staff from February;
  • eBay reducing its workforce by 104 in January;
  • Juul, the company infamous for targeting kids with USB-powered cigarette substitutes, ashed 245 careers late last year;
  • LogMeIn lost 109 in February, with the staff due to depart in April. Perhaps they'll be reprieved as demand for remote access surges?
  • Marvell moved on 124 staff in February;
  • Norton LifeLock, formerly Symantec's consumer business, shrank itself by 208 people. Symantec itself said goodbye to 218 from late last year to January;
  • Samsung shed 73 people at the end of last year;
  • Uber gave 473 people their last ride from mid-2019 through to February;
  • VMware said farewell to 211 staff in January;
  • WeWork waved goodbye to 172 staff at the end of last year.

Many of the tech company job losses were annual trims of teams running declining products, loss-making startups starting to live within their means, post-acquisition rightsizing, and so on.

The data makes for sobering reading, with thousands of jobs in hospitality and entertainment wiped out in recent weeks as California entered coronavirus lockdown, with folks told to stay home to curb the spread of the bio-nasty.

Strong demand for remote access and collaboration tools, many delivered from the cloud, has raised hopes that tech companies and IT pros might be spared the worst of what is clearly going to be a very nasty economic downturn coming our way thanks to the coronavirus. The Register is trying to help, too, with our free job ads service.

Good luck out there, everyone. ®

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