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Pure Storage, Google, mobile games company trim Bay Area jobs as tech cutbacks widen

Pure Storage, Google, mobile games company trim Bay Area jobs as tech cutbacks widen

SANTA CLARA — High-profile tech companies including Google and Pure Storage are conducting a fresh round of Bay Area job cuts that will affect hundreds of employees in the region, state records show.

The cutbacks suggest the tech industry is in the middle of a wrenching adjustment that has yet to run its course and could bring more pain to the boom-and-bust industry, experts warned.

“Many tech companies over-hired during the pandemic. Questions are arising regarding the economy because of interest rates and inflation, and tech is trying to shift to workers with a different kind of skillset than what is prevalent now,” said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Campbell-based Creative Strategies, which tracks the tech industry.

A key change? Companies have scrambled to add workers in the artificial-intelligence space as companies compete in the emerging sector.

Pixelberry Studios, a developer of games for mobile devices, Pure Storage, a data storage company, and search titan Google are the latest to notify the California Employment Development Department  of upcoming layoffs.

All of the staffing reductions were described as permanent, according to a post on the state’s online site.

Here are the details of the most recent layoffs affecting workers in the Bay Area, as reported on the state labor agency’s public website.

— Pixelberry Studios is cutting 120 jobs in Los Altos on March 15.

— Pure Storage reported 81 staff cutbacks in Santa Clara, expected on April 8.

— Google is trimming 73 jobs in Mountain View. The employment cuts are scheduled for March 4.

Tech companies have disclosed plans to cut slightly more than 4,200 jobs in the Bay Area in 2024, this news organization’s review of the WARN notices shows.

During 2022, 2023 and so far in 2024, tech companies have filed plans to slash more than 36,100 jobs in the region.

Ominously, the Bay Area tech layoffs so far in 2024 equate to nearly one-fifth — 19.6% — of all of the tech job cuts that occurred in the nine-county region during 2023. At the current pace of tech industry layoffs in the Bay Area, the 2024 numbers could rival or eclipse last year’s numbers.

“Tech companies hired too many people during the pandemic, and now we are seeing right-sizing,” said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based think tank.

In 2022, tech companies chopped more than 10,300 jobs in the Bay Area. In 2023, tech companies eliminated nearly 21,600 positions in the region.

In another worrisome occurrence, a growing number of tech companies, some of them major players, have instituted not just two but three major rounds of job cuts since the current burst of tech staffing cutbacks began to emerge in early 2022.

Put another way, tech companies may be getting more comfortable using layoffs in their quest for efficiency.

“As tech companies right-sized, they discovered that they could become more efficient,” Hancock said. “As they get more efficient, that drives more profits and improves the bottom line. Then they try to find even more ways to get efficient.”

In 2022, 2023 and so far in 2024, these 10 tech companies laid off the most workers in the Bay Area. In some instances, the companies conducted multiple rounds of layoffs.

— Facebook owner Meta Platforms, 5,195 job cuts, affecting workers in Menlo Park, San Francisco, Burlingame, Sunnyvale and Fremont.

— Google, 2,457 layoffs in Mountain View, Moffett Field, San Bruno, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

— Broadcom, primarily due to its purchase of VMware, 1,267 layoffs in Palo Alto.

— Salesforce, 1,202 job cuts in San Francisco.

— Cisco Systems, 1,023 layoffs in San Jose, San Francisco and Milpitas.

— Intel, 927 job cuts in Santa Clara and San Jose.

— Twitter, 900 reductions in San Francisco and San Jose.

— PayPal, 772 layoffs in San Jose.

— LinkedIn, 711 job cuts in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and San Francisco.

— HelloFresh, or Grocery Delivery e-Services, 611 layoffs in Richmond.

“Tech companies were just carrying a lot in terms of excess capacity,” Hancock said. “The industry is just going through a big period of adjustment and right-sizing. This could go on for a while. But the innovative nature of Silicon Valley means this region still has great fundamentals.”

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