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Big Tech Is Slashing Jobs, But in Rhode Island, We Don’t Have Any

Monday, January 23, 2023

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IMAGE: Company logos

Big tech is slashing jobs at a record pace.

The numbers of job losses are daunting. But, the slashing has little impact on Rhode Island’s job picture — the big tech companies have a very small footprint in the state.

Google parent company Alphabet announced Friday that it is cutting around 12,000 jobs or 6% of its global workforce.

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This past week, Microsoft announced it was cutting 10,000 positions.

And Amazon increased the number of jobs being slashed. The company announced that thousands of employees at Amazon’s retail and HR departments lost their jobs in layoffs — totaling 18,000 people.

Two weeks ago, GoLocal reported on tech-driven Compass, the real estate company headquartered in New York City was implementing its third round of layoffs in the last year and that is was subleasing its 89,000-square-foot office space at 90 Fifth Avenue near Union Square.

Weeks ago, Meta, the parent company of Facebook announced 11,000 layoffs, or 12.6% of its workforce.

The New York Times reported, “Nearly 200,000 tech employees have been laid off since the start of 2022, according to Layoffs.fyi, a site that tracks job cuts in the sector.”

“We are allocating both our capital and talent to areas of secular growth and long-term competitiveness for the company, while divesting in other areas,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said in a message to employees on Wednesday.

One big tech behemoth that has been almost immune from job slashing is Apple. In August, Forbes reported that the company quietly laid off 100 contract tech recruiters.

The slashing has had little impact on the Rhode Island economy or workforce. Other than the new Amazon distribution facility in Johnston, Rhode Island is home to few employees in the big tech sector.

Governor Gina Raimondo had announced that Rhode Island would be home to hundreds of tech jobs for General Electric digital, but those jobs were only a trickle.

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CHART: Layoff.FYI

Rhode Island Employment Numbers Show Tech Growth

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.5% in December, the Department of Labor and Training announced Thursday. The December rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point from the November rate of 3.6%. Last year the rate was 4.5% in December.

Three employment sectors, Accommodation & Food Services, Educational Services and Government, each reported a loss of 600 jobs in December.

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RI saw significant growth in construction jobs. PHOTO: File

But the state saw growth, with a gain of 800 jobs reported in the Professional & Technical Services sector, recouping almost all the 900 jobs it lost in November. Sizeable job gains were also noted in the Administrative & Waste Services (+500) and Construction (+400) sectors.

Smaller but positive December job gains were also noted in the Financial Activities (+300), Health Care & Social Assistance (+100), Information (+100) and Management of Companies (+100) sectors.

Over the year, Rhode Island jobs are up 9,500, led by the Construction (+3,500), Health Care & Social Assistance (+2,600), and Professional & Technical Services (+1,600) sectors.

In Massachusetts, job growth was at a record pace.

From December 2021 to December 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Massachusetts gained 134,500 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality, Education and Health Services, and Professional and Business Services.

The December unemployment rate of 3.3 percent was two-tenths of a percentage point below the national rate of 3.5 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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