Startup layoffs slowing down, but more employees laid off on average

Finally, some long-awaited good news: the number of newly-reported startup layoffs has been steadily declining for the past 5 weeks, today’s Uber layoff not withstanding. After a coronavirus record of 99 startups conducted layoffs in the first week of April, this past week saw only 22 startups cut jobs, a decline of 78%.

Unfortunately, the number of employees laid off has not benefited from a similar trend. During that same 5-week period, the number of new employees laid off per week dropped from 7,692 to 6,562, a decline of just 15%.

Part of the reason is that even though fewer startups are laying off, the average layoff has gotten bigger. Last week, Stone laid off 1,300 employees and Deliv laid off 669 employees. The week before, Airbnb laid off 1,900, and Juul laid off 900. Including today’s layoff, Uber has cut 6,700 employees in May alone.

In fact, 4 of the 10 biggest tech layoffs since COVID-19 have occurred in just the past two weeks.

Company# Laid Off%IndustryDate
Uber6,70025%Transportation5/6, 5/18
Groupon2,80044%Retail4/13
Airbnb1,90025%Travel5/5
Stone1,30020%Finance5/12
Toast1,30050%Food4/7
Magic Leap1,00050%Consumer4/22
Yelp1,00017%Consumer4/9
Lyft98217%Transportation4/29
Juul90030%Consumer5/5
TripAdvisor90025%Travel4/28

In the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, smaller cash-strapped startups were the first to conduct layoffs to avoid going out of business. Later-stage startups and recently-public tech companies had more buffer to hold off on layoffs due to their larger cash reserves. At the time, smaller travel startups like Lola, Remote Year, and WanderJaunt were laying off dozens of employees each even though the likes of Airbnb and TripAdvisor hadn’t yet cut staff.

Two months into nationwide lockdowns, these bigger tech companies couldn’t keep holding off. They’ve now also had enough time to properly budget, plan, and execute their layoffs, something that takes longer at a 4,000-person company than a 40-person one. Small wonder that in the first half of May, it’s felt like dominoes falling when it comes to late-stage startup layoffs.

The media has also started selectively covering only the bigger startup layoffs, as layoffs have gotten too frequent to keep up. We’re still trying, though! The Layoffs.fyi Tracker has counted 430+ startups that have laid off 50,000+ employees since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, though there are hundreds more layoffs that haven’t been reported publicly.

Uber just announced another mass layoff today, and WeWork expects to continue performing rolling layoffs through the end of the month. But once the smoke clears from those layoffs, will we finally see some ecosystem renewal? Here’s hoping.

Uber and Airbnb’s layoffs rank as two of the biggest in tech since COVID-19

This morning, Uber announced it was laying off 3,700 employees (14%) in its customer support and recruiting teams. The CEO’s letter to staff strongly hints that more cuts are coming in the next two weeks. As many as 5,400 employees are expected to ultimately be laid off.

Yesterday, Airbnb laid off 1,900 employees (25%) across all teams. It expects revenue to fall by more than half in 2020 as global travel stays frozen.

This means that in the past two days alone, we’ve seen two of three biggest tech layoffs since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11:

Company# Laid Off%IndustryDate
Uber3,70014%Transportation5/6
Groupon2,80044%Retail4/13
Airbnb1,90025%Travel5/5
Toast1,30050%Food4/7
Yelp1,00017%Consumer4/9
Magic Leap1,00050%Consumer4/22
Lyft98217%Transportation4/29
TripAdvisor90025%Travel4/28

Not surprisingly, nearly all of these mass layoffs — including Uber’s and Airbnb’s — can be attributed to shelter-in-place orders. Our previous analysis showed that 2/3 of startup employees laid off have come from industries directly affected by shelter-in-place, such as transportation, travel, real estate, food, and fitness. The layoffs have hurt sales and customer success roles most.

Unfortunately, more big layoffs are still to come. Juul is reportedly planning to lay off 800 to 950 employees, roughly one-third of staff. WeWork, which has already cut thousands of employees across multiple rounds of layoffs, expects to continue making cuts through the end of May. Square has managed to avoid a layoff so far, but remains exposed to small business customers in food and retail that have been shutting down en masse.

Our live Layoffs Tracker is tracking all startup layoffs, and has now tallied over 42,000 employees laid off across 374 companies. Best wishes to those affected and here’s hoping that we reach the bottom soon.

Yelp

Another Yelp layoff list emerges with 23 laid-off engineers

🌎 San Francisco, NYC, Chicago βˆ™ πŸ‘© 1,000 employees (17%) βˆ™ πŸ–₯ All departments

We previously mentioned that Yelp, the local business reviews website, laid off 1,000 employees (17%) and furloughed another 1,100. We’ve now come across a second opt-in list of employees laid off, containing 23 engineers in San Francisco (and a handful of other roles). See below link πŸ‘‡for the new list as well as the first one we posted previously.

See our live Layoffs Tracker for a real-time report of all startups that have done layoffs.

Yelp

Yelp laid off 1,000 employees and furloughed another 1,100

🌎 San Francisco, NYC, Chicago βˆ™ πŸ‘© 1,000 employees (17%) βˆ™ πŸ–₯ All departments

Last week Yelp, the local business reviews website, became one of the highest-profile tech companies to announce a layoff. The company laid off 1,000 employees (17%) and furloughed another 1,100. Yelp has seen customer interest in restaurants, its most popular category, decline 64% since March 10. See below link πŸ‘‡for an opt-in spreadsheet of employees laid off.

UPDATE: Added link to a second opt-in spreadsheet of employees laid off, containing primarily engineers.

See our live Layoffs Tracker for a real-time report of all startups that have done layoffs.