Why News Out of Silicon Valley is Bad for North Carolinians | Eastern North Carolina Now | Worries over impact of recession grows as Meta, Alphabet look to restrict or freeze hiring

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Brittany Raymer.

    The news recently coming out of Silicon Valley isn't good for the country, nor North Carolinians, as it's clear that even some of the nation's most powerful and influential companies are already bracing for recession and a tightening job market.

    This first came to light at an all-staff digital meeting with Meta (Facebook, Instagram) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who announced that the company is essentially looking to weed out poor performers.

    "Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this isn't the place for you, and that self-selection is OK with me," Zuckerberg said after a staff member asked about "Meta Days," which allowed staff to take extra time off during the pandemic.

    An internal memo was even more direct, with vice president of remote presence Maher Saba telling managers: "If a direct report is coasting or a low performer, they are not who we need; they are failing this company. As a manager, you cannot allow someone to be net neural or negative for Meta."

    Ironically, it will be difficult to keep morale high when the company is already beginning to cut some employee perks, like free laundry and dry cleaning. If more are on the way, it'll be difficult to keep out the naysayers who are frustrated that their once cushy job is becoming more mundane.

    This attempt to seemingly clean house is not only about bracing for the anticipated economic downturn, and possibly even layoffs, but reacting to a slump that has already begun. This year, Meta posted its slowest growth rate since it went public.

    Meta is not alone, as Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube, has instituted a two-week hiring freeze to assess its "headcount" as it faces a decline in advertising revenue as other companies pull back their marketing efforts on the various platforms.

    "We'll use this time to review our headcount needs and align on a new set of prioritized Staffing Requests for the next three months," said senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan.

    These are not the only Silicon Valley heavy hitters slowing down when it comes to hiring and profits, Apple, Lyft, Microsoft, Dropbox, Adobe and more. Even Amazon is whittling down its once impressive team, though it still employs an incredible 1.52 million full- and part-time workers.

    Though the Biden administration has often cited the strength of the job market as a reason why the country is not in a recession, but that won't be the case for much longer. As the big tech companies all look to tighten their purse strings and freeze or slow hiring, anticipate that to trickle down to businesses across the country, including here in North Carolina where Apple is establishing a new office.

    WRAL is reporting that there are a growing number of indictors that the labor market is slowing in the Research Triangle area. For the first time this year, the number of the jobs offered at the beginning of this month, August, are lower than at the beginning of the year. There are also an increasing number of layoffs occurring as well.

    This will likely continue as the recession takes full effect.
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