Layoffs Rise 20% in May Led by Technology and Retail

tech layoffs

There were 80,089 job cuts announced by United States-based employers in May, with the technology sector being hardest hit.

The total number of job cuts announced in May was 20% higher than that in April and 287% higher than the number announced a year earlier, Challenger, Gray and Christmas said in a Thursday (June 1) press release.

“Consumer confidence is down to a six-month low, and job openings are flattening,” Andrew Challenger, labor expert and senior vice president at Challenger, Gray and Christmas, said in the release. “Companies appear to be putting the brakes on hiring in anticipation of a slowdown.”

Most industries have seen an increase in layoffs this year, with only education, government, industrial manufacturing and utilities being spared, according to the release.

The technology sector accounted for 22,887 of the job cuts announced in May. Year to date, the sector has seen 136,831 layoffs — a total that is 2,939% higher than the same period in 2022 and the highest since 2001, the release said.

The sector with the second-highest number of job cuts in May was retail, with 9,053. Year to date, the retail sector has had 942% more layoffs this year than last, per the release.

So far this year, across all industries, U.S.-based employers have announced 417,500 job cuts. That total is 315% higher than the number announced during the first five months of last year and is the highest January-May total since 2020, the release said.

“With the exception of 2020, it is the highest total in the first five months of the year since 2009, when 822,282 cuts were tracked through May,” Challenger, Gray and Christmas said in the release.

Employers have also slowed their hiring, with the total number of new positions announced in May — 7,884 — being the lowest monthly total since November 2020, according to the release.

Among the technology and financial firms that announced layoffs in May were Coupa Software, which is cutting an undisclosed number of jobs as part of a “company reset strategy”; Goldman Sachs Group, which is cutting fewer than 250 roles during an investment banking slump; Meta Platforms, which commenced the last of a series of job cuts totaling 10,000; LinkedIn, which cut 716 positions amid slowing growth; and Shopify, which let go more than 2,000 workers as it sold its logistics unit.