The sign on the Google offices in Chelsea in New York.

These 7 tech categories are losing the most jobs

Written by:
May 25, 2023
rblfmr // Shutterstock

These 7 tech categories are losing the most jobs

After the coronavirus struck in 2020, causing employees and students to work from home and social gatherings to shift online, demand for technology products soared. From computers to streaming services, the industry exploded. Sales of laptop and desktop computers, for example, totaled 348.8 million in 2020, a nearly 15% increase over 2019. That's the greatest number of sales since 2014.

To keep up with the growth, tech companies hired new workers.

Then the pandemic lessened its grip, and tech companies were left with a different set of problems: inflation, higher interest rates, and fears of a recession, among others. Layoffs began.

Facebook's parent company, Meta, for example, cut more than 10,000 workers in November 2022.

And as stock prices fell, technology giants assured shareholders they were taking steps to right the imbalance.

Stacker used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to identify 10 technology industries, then ranked the seven with the most job losses from December 2022 to March 2023, the most recent data available across all 10 industries. The other three tech industries—computer and software wholesalers, nanotech, and biotech—either experienced job gains or had little change in that time. The employment data is seasonally adjusted.

The technology jobs are mostly part of the information sector, which lost about 24,000 jobs from December 2022 to April 2023, largely in January and February. Preliminary estimates show that layoffs in the sector slowed in March and April but remain well above 2022 levels. Some technology industries are outside the information sector, namely in the professional and business services, manufacturing, and wholesale trade areas.

Man using laptop and browsing Google.
1 / 7 // Shutterstock

#7. Web search portals and all other information services

- March 2023 employment: 171,100 jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Up 1,600 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 1,300 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Up 23,100 jobs

Alphabet, the parent company of the best-known search engine, Google, announced in January 2023 that it was laying off 12,000 employees, or 6% of its workforce. In a memo, CEO Sundar Pichai said that after dramatic growth in the two previous years, the company had "hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today." The company came under sharp criticism for making the cuts by email.

GoDaddy logo at Silicon Valley office.
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Michael Vi // Shutterstock

#6. Computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting, and related services

- March 2023 employment: 485,200 jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Up 2,200 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 1,500 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Up 122,500 jobs

GoDaddy laid off 500 workers, or 8% of its global employees, in February 2023. The domain registrar and web hosting company blamed "increasingly challenging macroeconomic conditions." Dropbox, which offers cloud storage and file-sharing services, shed the same number of employees in April 2023, about 18% of its workforce. It will be focusing on products driven by artificial intelligence and needs workers with different skills.

Close-up computer green microcircuits lie in a row in the production of computers.
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YouraPechkin // Shutterstock

#5. Computer and electronic product manufacturing

- March 2023 employment: 1.1 million jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Down 2,500 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 1,700 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Up 17,900 jobs

Demand for personal computers and laptops has been falling after a burst of sales during the coronavirus pandemic. Dell announced in February that it would be letting go of more than 6,000 employees, or about 5% of its workforce, pointing to the "challenging global economic environment."

Intel, the manufacturer of semiconductor chips, said at the beginning of May that it would be cutting employees. That follows a first-quarter net loss of $2.8 billion, the largest in its history. But one of the best-known companies, Apple, is not looking at large-scale layoffs, according to CEO Tim Cook, who said at the beginning of May that layoffs would be a "last resort."

The new Meta company signage outside its European headquarters.
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Derick P. Hudson // Shutterstock

#4. Media streaming distribution services, social networks, and other media networks and content providers

- March 2023 employment: 236,600 jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Down 600 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 3,500 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Down 8,500 jobs

Facebook's parent company, Meta, said in November 2022 that it would reduce its staff by 11,000, or 13%. It was the company's first extensive round of layoffs since its founding in 2004. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company had overhired during the pandemic when growth surged. Such powerhouses as Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery confronted cutbacks as they tried to grow their streaming businesses.

Programmer working on a software in a company office.
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#3. Computer systems design and related services

- March 2023 employment: 2.5 million jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Up 1,600 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 3,800 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Up 255,200 jobs

The layoffs in 2023 are reaching into the core of the technology sector affecting software engineers, data scientists, and other key roles. Software engineers represented nearly 20% of the cuts, though they make up only 14% of the workforce, according to an analysis by Revelio Labs for Vox. One reason why they might be newly vulnerable: the efficiencies that result from artificial intelligence.

Computer user touching on Microsoft word icon to open the program.
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Wachiwit // Shutterstock

#2. Software publishers

- March 2023 employment: 646,000 jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Down 1,200 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 5,200 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Up 144,200 jobs

Software publishers such as Microsoft and Salesforce have also watched growth slow. During the pandemic, interest in collaborative tools spiked as people worked and studied remotely. But as the world reopened, companies reined in spending. The maker of Windows let go of 10,000 employees in January, during which time Salesforce also announced it would lay off 8,000 employees, or 10% of its workers.

Telecommunication tower with blue sky and white clouds background.
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Fahroni // Shutterstock

#1. Wired and wireless telecommunications (except satellite)

- March 2023 employment: 600,300 jobs
- Change from...
--- February 2023: Down 2,400 jobs
--- December 2022: Down 5,900 jobs
--- February 2020 (pre-COVID): Down 60,600 jobs

Among the biggest cuts, the Swedish telecom Ericsson announced in February that it planned to decrease its worldwide workforce by 8,500 jobs, or 8%. The company provides equipment for 5G networks. It said it wants to cut costs by $859 million by the end of 2023.

Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Story editing by Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.

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