More tech jobs were lost last year than at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wall Street Journal reports that technology companies across industries have been laying off workers at a rapid pace, outstripping even the layoffs suffered during the initial peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The report is based on layoff data tracked by Layoffs.fyi, a website created by San Francisco internet entrepreneur Roger Lee. The platform tracks layoff events as they surface in media reports and company releases. Lee says that he started the site when the pandemic hit “as a side project to create awareness around all of these tech layoffs, in the hopes of helping laid-off employees find a home”, the WSJ wrote. 

Lee’s tracker shows that tech sector employers cut more than 150,000 jobs in 2022, far more than the 80,000 layoffs recorded in March-December 2020 and the 15,000 reported in all of 2021.

The estimates include large employers such as Facebook parent Meta, which announced more than 11,000 layoffs in November. Amazon, which initially announced about 10,000 possible job cuts, later upped that estimate to 20,000 or more. Tech giants such as Intel and HP also announced substantial layoffs last year. The tracker also counts job cuts from smaller businesses in the US, as well as tech layoffs abroad in places like Ireland.

Impact by sector

The consumer and retail sectors were the two hardest-hit parts of the tech industry in 2022, according to the WSJ. The two sectors collectively accounted for about 40,000 layoffs. Facebook parent Meta alone accounted for roughly half of the cuts in the consumer group, while Amazon represented about half of those in retail.

Healthcare was another sector that lost a large number of tech jobs. The WSJ reports that almost 100 healthcare-related tech companies laid off around 11,000 employees in 2022.

The move to remote learning caused many education-tech companies to grow early in the pandemic. In 2022, however, ed-tech employers announced more than 8,000 job cuts. Travel-related tech companies had the opposite experience: lockdowns initially caused a wave of layoffs in 2020, but the sector was the least impacted in 2022.