More than 6,000 tech and biotech job cuts disrupt Bay Area economy

As recessionary pressures continue to build in the region and across the country, tech and biotech companies have now revealed plans for job cuts enough to erase more than 6,000 jobs in the Bay Area, cuts that could weigh on the economy of the region in the coming weeks and months.

Job cuts affecting thousands of workers in the Bay Area have been presented to California labor officials since early October, according to this news organization’s analysis of WARN’s letters and posts on the state’s site for the development of employment.

“Tech layoffs are ongoing. People are being affected, lives are being turned upside down,” said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based think tank. Hancock noted that the cuts affecting foreign workers who are in the Bay Area with H-1B visas can be particularly devastating: “In some cases, it can mean they will be deported.”

The sobering total: Well over 6,200 jobs affecting tech or biotech workers have been cut or are expected to be eliminated in Bay Area locations by February 2023, EDD documents show. That’s double the number this news organization found in a similar review of filings two weeks ago, and it’s enough to erase any gains the tech industry posted in October, which initially appeared to be a recovery month.

Experts disagree on whether the layoffs are primarily due to company-specific problems or indicate a more widespread disruption that could threaten the Silicon Valley economy.

“Tech and biotech layoffs aren’t happening at a rate that they’re hurting the overall Bay Area economy,” said Patrick Kallerman, research vice president for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “That’s not to say that something else might not happen. But the cuts so far appear to be mostly circumstantial.

The largest known total of Bay Area tech and biotech layoffs in the current crop of cuts was reported by Facebook app owner Meta Platforms, which revealed plans last week to eliminate 2,564 jobs in the region.

Meta, the former headquarters of Facebook, is seen in Menlo Park, California on November 9, 2022. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

In many respects, the technology sector is the main engine of the regional economy. But Scott Anderson, chief economist at the Bank of the West, warns that this dominance could become a headwind in the event of a recession.

“The concentration of jobs in technology, finance, construction and real estate makes the Bay Area more vulnerable to the shock of higher interest rates, falling stock prices and tightening financial conditions,” Anderson said.

The potential effects of these factors, Anderson added, “are only now starting to become visible.”

Here are some of the notable layoffs planned, or recently completed, in the nine-county region by technology and biotech companies:

  • Meta Platforms, 2,564 jobs in Menlo Park, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Burlingame and Fremont
  • Cepheids, 1,000 in Newark, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara
  • Twitter, 890 in San Francisco and San Jose
  • Amazon, 263 in Sunnyvale
  • Lyft, 227 in San Francisco
  • Oracle, 200 in Redwood City and Belmont
  • Carillon, 152 in San Francisco
  • Astreya, 144 in Newark
  • Zymergen, 110 in Emeryville
  • Kitty Hawk, 100 years in Mountain View
  • WeDriveU, 97 in Newark and Menlo Park
  • BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, 94 in San Rafael and Novato
  • Roku, 93 years old in San Jose
  • onsemi, 88 in San Jose
  • Seagate, 84 in Fremont
  • PayPal, 59 in San Jose
  • Natera, 58 years old in San Carlos
  • FormFactor, 52 in Livermore.

The largest chunk of Meta’s layoffs were to occur in Menlo Park, where the company has its world headquarters. The Facebook owner is eliminating 1,642 jobs in Menlo Park, 362 in San Francisco, 237 in Sunnyvale, 179 in Burlingame and 144 in Fremont.

The cuts contrast with the state Department of Employment Development’s most recent jobs report, released Friday, which showed the Bay Area added as many as 17,600 jobs in October, fueled by big gains in the county. of Santa Clara, the San Francisco-San Mateo region and the East Bay.

Tech companies added 6,300 Bay Area jobs in October, or 35.7 percent — more than a third — of all the jobs they acquired last month in the nine-county region, according to this news organization’s analysis of seasonally adjusted data that Beacon Economics and UC Riverside compiled and provided. But many of the recently announced job cuts have yet to take place and will affect job totals in the coming months.

Many of the Bay Area-based companies that are cutting jobs are shedding far larger numbers outside the region. In the latest such move, Cisco Systems revealed last week that it has decided to eliminate 5% of its global workforce.

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