What the alarming layoffs and hiring freezes in tech mean for the economy
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The alarmingly high rate of layoffs and hiring freezes in the tech industry is a sign we’re losing our jobs to robots and artificial intelligence, say economists.
It’s the second in a series of articles looking at the ongoing trend of tech companies laying off and/or shutting down their operations globally.
A new report shows that the number of people getting laid off in the tech industry has more than doubled over the past decade and tripled over the past five years.
A big part of that decline, the report says, is a “global phenomenon: the rapid growth of new technologies in areas such as machine learning, mobile apps and digital entertainment, which are being adopted into the workplace.”
The findings don’t mean we’re heading for total disaster. The report finds that the tech industry is becoming more attractive to workers, making it a more stable and rewarding place to work. But the trend is worrisome, the authors say.
“Despite the overall improving state of the jobs market, as measured by the job openings, the number of people taking leave and/or shutting down their operations will continue to swell,” they wrote in the report.
The trend is driven mostly by high-tech companies in the US, says Michael Norton, the lead author of the report.
“The number of job openings in the tech industry [has been] growing at a very low annual rate,” Norton told Business Insider.
“This has the tendency to create a supply and demand of workers for those that currently have jobs. That is, this can encourage an increase in hiring and an increase in new jobs that will result in the overall growth of the sector,” Norton said.
In an e-mail interview with the Washington Post, Norton pointed to one particular example: The number of people getting laid off in Silicon Valley is growing about seven times faster than the overall national growth rate.
The issue of artificial intelligence is driving the tech layoffs
As artificial intelligence becomes an increasingly