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Why widespread tech layoffs keep happening despite a strong U.S. economy

The tech sector is having a big 2024. Nvidia just crushed earnings expectations. The artificial intelligence boom remains in full swing. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index is up more than 8 percent year to date.

The U.S. economy is also doing surprisingly well, adding 353,000 jobs in January, well ahead of economists' forecasts. Hotter-than-expected inflation data may also keep the Fed from cutting rates as soon as the market expects, a sign that the economy remains strong enough to support tighter monetary policy for longer.

It's a different story for tech workers, though.

"The layoffs to the start of 2024 signal a dramatic shift in the tech industry," said Jeff Shulman, professor at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. "We're going to continue to see layoffs happen as the future of work has changed, as the future of technology has changed and as investors' appetite for risk and growth versus profitability has dramatically changed as well."

The number of tech sector layoffs in 2024 has been outpacing the number of terminations in 2023. So far, about 42,324 tech employees were let go in 2024, according to, which tracks layoffs in the tech industry. That averages out to more than 780 layoffs each day in 2024. In 2023, nearly 263,000 tech employees got laid off, averaging to about 720 layoffs each day that year.

There are several factors behind the churn. AI is at the forefront. Companies need to free up cash to invest in the chips and servers that power the AI models behind these new technologies. There's also the stock market effect. Companies that conducted layoffs haven't been punished, either by investors or on their bottom lines. In fact, they've been rewarded with rising stock prices.

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